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Noise at Work

Noise at Work

Many people suffer from deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions because of being exposed to too much noise in the workplace. Excess noise at work is preventable but hearing damage is permanent.

Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that their employees are not exposed to excess levels of noise.


Employer Responsibilities

Employers must take the following steps to protect their employees:

- Assess the risk to your employees from noise at work
- Reduce noise exposure where risks have been identified
- If noise can not be reduced at source then provide employees with hearing protection
- Ensure that noise at work exposure limits are not exceeded
- Train, inform and instruct employees
- Conduct health surveillance where risks have been identified


When Should Action Be Taken

All employers have a duty to ensure that noise levels do not exceed the legal limits, below is a simple set of situations where it is likely that action will need to be taken

- If employees are surrounded by intrusive noise for the majority of their working day
- If voices have to be raised in order to be heard from just 2 meters away
- If employees are required to use power tools or machinery for more than half an hour per day
- If employees work within the following industries: construction, road repair, engineering or manufacturing
- If employees work with explosive sources such as cartridge-operated tools


Legal Limits

Information, training and hearing protection must be made available if employees are exposed to a daily or weekly average noise level of 80 decibels.

Hearing protection and hearing protection zones must be provided when the average daily or weekly noise exposure reaches 85 decibels.

No employee should be exposed top noise that exceeds 87 decibels even after hearing protection has been provided

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Noise at Work Web Link