Noise at Work
Noise at Work
Building site plant and operations are often very noisy. Exposure to excessive noise can, over a period of time lead to permanent hearing loss. In addition, noise is very wearing on the nerves and can cause irritability and loss of concentration leading to mistakes and accidents.
The delicate mechanism in our ears wears out gradually as we get older. Loud noise can
wear it out more quickly, leading to premature deafness. There is no cure therefore
preventative measures are required. Refer to “The Noise at Work Regulations <date>.
What to do about Noise
Stand 2 metres away from your colleague and try talking. If you cannot hear each other
Without shouting, then preventative action is required;
Action Level One.
- Noise measurements must be taken with an appropriate sound level meter. This reads in decibels dB (A).
- 85 dB (A) is the maximum you are allowed to hear all day.
- The owner of the noisy plant must take steps to reduce the noise level reading to below 85 dB (A). This could be by – changing to a quieter machine, moving it further away, having it properly serviced, placing it inside an acoustic enclosure etc.
- If, after doing all that is reasonably practical, the noise is still above 85 dB (A) you can ask for hearing protection (earplugs, muffs etc.) so that the noise you actually hear is below 85 dB (A).
Action Level Two.
- If the noise is still above 90 dB (A) then hearing protection MUST be provided and you MUST wear it.
- Owners of noisy plant may declare immediate surroundings to be an EAR PROTECTION ZONE and erect warning signs. Ear protection must be worn continually in this zone. If you need to communicate with your colleague more than by hand signals, step outside the Zone first.
- Hearing protection must be suitable and a good fit. Ear defenders to BS 6444 will usually be adequate. (should we say this?)
- “Bilsom Dams” type of earplug should only be used once and then discarded.
- Cotton Wool is totally ineffective as a noise protector.
- Wash hands before touching and inserting earplugs.
- Do not use earplugs if you have an ear infection.
- Take care of your ear defenders including keeping clean.
- It is your duty to ‘comply and co-operate’ with noise prevention measures.
For more information visit www.hse.gov.uk