Noise surveys are carried out to determine the exposure, or not, of employees to noise at work which requires control measures to be determined and implemented.
The noise survey involves the measurement of the noise produced by the employer’s activities using a noise meter. HSM Safety Management us a noise meter of Class 1 type, the most accurate for field use meters, manufactured by Cirrus Research. Measurements are taken to determine the level of noise and whether this exposes employees to noise which requires action from the employer.
Under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 certain actions are required when the noise reaches set action levels. These levels of exposure to noise are the noise to which employees are exposed averaged over a working day or week and the maximum noise or peak sound pressure to which employees are exposed in a working day.
Lower exposure action values:
Daily or weekly exposure of 80 dB
Peak sound pressure of 135 dB
Upper exposure action values:
Daily or weekly exposure of 85 dB
Peak sound pressure of 137 dB
Actions are required to be taken when either of these action values are reached or exceeded. When above the first Action Level employees must be issued with hearing protection on request. Above the Second Action Level hearing protection equipment must be provided and worn.
There are also levels of noise exposure that must not be exceeded but allow the effect of hearing protection to be included.
Exposure limit values:
Daily or weekly exposure of 87 dB
Peak sound pressure of 140 dB
In addition to determining the level of exposure to noise of the employees it is possible to take readings to assist in the selection of hearing protection to protect individuals and the selection of physical measures, engineering measures, to protect all employees. By preference engineering solutions should be adopted where reasonably practicable as Personal Protective equipment only protects the individual.