Occupational Hygiene

Noise Monitoring

Noise at Work Risk Assessment and Surveys

Noise monitoring construction workers using a buzz saw

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research estimates that 17,000 people in the UK suffer from deafness, tinnitus or other hearing conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work. They also estimate that over two million people are exposed to potentially harmful noise at work. Noise-induced hearing loss is usually gradual and is irreversible, but completely preventable. Control of exposure to noise is required by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

By law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise, so that you can protect the hearing of your employees. You should manage both high and low risks using a prioritised noise-control action plan.

Managing Noise Exposure

IOM can help you manage exposure to noise in the workplace by:

  • Assessing occupational noise exposure levels for individuals and groups.
  • Identifying where employees are exposed to excessive levels of occupational noise, based on the HSE action and limit values.
  • Producing "noise-maps" highlighting areas where occupational noise may require control.
  • Providing practical noise control engineering advice.
  • Assessing the suitability of hearing protection, and providing best advice on types of protector, noise reduction and compatibility with other safety equipment.
  • Assessing whether your employees require health surveillance.
  • Supplying information and training to staff on the effects of noise and noise induced hearing loss.

If the answer to any of the questions below is ‘yes’, then the noise may be harmful and action may be required:

  • Is the noise intrusive, like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant for most of the working day?
  • Do your employees have to raise their voices to carry out a normal conversation when about 2m apart for at least part of the day?
  • Do your employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?
  • Do you work in a noisy industry, e.g. construction, demolition or road repair; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; general fabrication; forging, pressing or stamping; paper or board making; canning or bottling; foundries?
  • Are there noises due to impacts (such as hammering, drop forging, pneumatic impact tools etc.), explosive sources such as cartridge operated tools or detonators, or guns?

For information on noise monitoring, please contact us.