Occupational Exposure to Noise
As an employer it is important for our clients to consider their employees health during the working day. Because of this our client approached us as they wanted to know the occupational exposure to noise for their employees as they work with noisy machinery. For this project we travelled to Great Yarmouth to a factory which specialises in the fabrication of industrial firefighting equipment. Approximately 50 employees work in the factory and their typical exposure time is believed to be 8 hours.
Noise assessment methodology
In order to carry out a noise assessment our surveyor needed the help of specialist equipment which measures sound. The equipment required was a B&K precision sound level meter type 2236 and a sound calibrator type ND9. Our surveyor carried out the noise assessment according to the requirements of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. This regulation specifies the responsibilities of employers, employees and machinery manufacturers in reducing the risk of hearing damage due to excessive noise at work
Recommendations to minimise exposure to noise
The assessment shows that the daily personal exposure levels of employees working in several of the production areas is likely to exceed the second action value of 85dB. However during the assessment exposure to peak noise was not exceeded. We strongly recommend introducing a low noise purchase policy for any new equipment, to separate noisy machinery where possible and to ensure all noise control equipment and hearing protection is properly maintained. In areas where the noise has been identified as likely to exceed the upper action value of 85 dB(A), hearing protectors must be worn and these areas should be designated as Hearing Protection Zones and marked with the appropriate signage in accordance with the Health and Safety Regulations.
In order 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 80 dB (A) about the danger from exposure to excessive noise.