Wright Safety Solutionsestablished 2006


providing Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire small/medium businesses

Noise at Work

Is your workshop too noisy?

Noise can be a problem at work. Continuous loud noise of course can damage hearing, but any sort of noise at work can become irritating, disturbing to workers and affect efficiency, and also interfere with communication. Regulations dealing with the control of noise at work were updated in 2005 and they define a level of noise at which action must be taken and a level where ear protection must be provided.

Sound is measured in decibels. As a guide, a quiet office of workshop might have a noise level at 40 dB, a group of people talking 60dB, a busy street 80dB and noise from a chainsaw might be over 100dB. You can imagine then that being exposed to anything above 80dB for a whole day will be uncomfortable.

80 decibels (80dB) is the action level. If noise levels reach or exceed 80dB over a working day then an employer must conduct a full risk assessment and take steps to control the noise. Above 85dB then the employer must reduce the noise or provide employees with ear protectors. For example, a fork lift driver in a busy warehouse could be exposed to over 85dB. Wright Safety Solutions can conduct a thorough audit of your workplace to identify areas that would benefit from noise reduction programmes / hearing protection zones and the use of personal protective equipment.

Sources of exposure to high levels of occupational noise include:

  • cutting operations - bandsaw, rapid paper-cutting
  • chainsaws
  • engineering fabrication and machine shops
  • concrete breaking
  • aircraft engines
  • traffic management work
  • entertainment venue work

Examples and likely noise levels
100dB
90dB
95dB
100dB

The risks of prolonged noise exposure can be reduced by considering

  • elimination or reduction of the noise at source
  • removing people from the noise - e.g. by isolating the noise source or enclosing it
  • provide staff with information, instruction, training and supervision
  • provide personal protective equipment e.g. ear defenders
  • signage properly positioned to indicate hearing protection zones

Wright Safety Solutions can assess the noise in your workplace, take measurements, assist with any risk assessments and advise on ear protection:

For more advice and information contact Wright Safety Solutions :

Wright Safety Solutions
John A. B. Wright
B.Sc. (Chem), TechIOSH
safety qualification: NEBOSH (Gen.Cert.)

Tel: (024) 76618235
Mobile: 0779 3880597

safety@jabw.demon.co.uk
http://www.wrightsafety.co.uk

References:

this page first published 12 January 2007
last updated 14 February 2016

Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire small/medium businesses


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