Control of noise in the workplace
Our acoustic technicians carry out full monitoring and assessment of employee noise exposures, in accordance with the current Noise at Work Regulations. Individual tasks/jobs are assessed for risk of hearing damage and specific advice is then provided on any actions that may be required.
Today we travelled to Whitley Lodge in the North of England, in order to carry out an assessment of occupational exposure to noise. The property we attended was a factory that specialises in the production of electronic healthcare components. The main production building had an open plan layout and is subdivided into; automatic board assembly, manual board assembly, soldering area, final build, non-dispersed area, service centre, storage areas and several offices and welfare facilities. The factory employs approximately 80 employees in the production area and their total exposure time during a working day is considered to be 8 hours and 45 minutes.
Conducting the noise assessment
Our surveyor measures the noise exposure with the help of specialist equipment. The equipment we used in this assessment was a B&K precision sound level meter type 2236, class 1.
Our surveyor took measurements of A-weighted sound pressure levels and C-weighted peak sound pressure levels at the employees’ ear position, while they were carrying out typical work operations. We are then able to calculate the daily personal exposure from the measured noise levels and the length of time the employee is likely to be exposed to the noise.
Once the assessment had been conducted we were able to conclude that all employees working in the production area are likely to be exposed to a daily or weekly personal noise exposure level below the lower action value of 80 dB(A).
Our recommendations to minimise exposure to noise within the workplace
In order to keep employees’ exposure to noise at a minimum we recommend that this assessment should be reviewed an updated if circumstances in the workplace alter, for example if machinery is repositioned, replaced or new machinery installed. If circumstances do not change it is still important that the risk assessment is carried out every two years.
To comply with the current Noise Regulations, employers have a duty to inform and train any employees who are exposed to noise at or above the Lower action value of 80dB(A) about the dangers from exposure to excessive noise. This also applies to any temporary staff as they could also be at risk.