Estimating noise exposure

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Managing Workplace Noise Exposure: A Guide for Employers

This guide helps employers effectively estimate and manage workers' noise exposure to comply with legal standards and ensure workplace safety.

Estimating Daily and Weekly Noise Exposure

To accurately gauge your workers' daily noise exposure, known as LEP,d, and potential peak sound pressure levels, LCpeak, consider the following:

  • The tasks performed and potential variations in task execution.
  • Different methods by which these tasks might be accomplished.
  • Day-to-day variations in work routines.

Sources of Noise Level Data

Estimating noise exposure can be supported by several sources:

  • Published guidelines such as the HSE's industry-specific advice.
  • Noise measurements taken within your own workplace.
  • Data from similar workplaces.
  • Information provided by machinery suppliers.

Note: When estimating noise exposure, do not consider the attenuation provided by personal hearing protection.

Weekly Noise Exposure Calculation

If noise exposure varies significantly from day to day, it may be calculated on a weekly basis, known as LEP,w. The HSE website offers tools for calculating both daily and weekly noise exposure.

Understanding Noise Regulations

The Noise Regulations define 'exposure action values' which are thresholds that, when exceeded, require employers to take specific actions:

  • Lower Exposure Action Value: Actions are required if daily or weekly exposure reaches 80 decibels, or peak sound pressure hits 135 decibels.
  • Upper Exposure Action Value: More stringent actions are necessary if levels exceed 85 decibels daily or weekly, or peak sound pressure exceeds 137 decibels.

Comparative Analysis and Compliance

Comparing your estimated noise exposure levels with these action values is essential to determine the specific measures needed to mitigate noise risks, fulfilling your legal and safety obligations.

Accurate estimation and effective management of noise exposure are critical for maintaining a safe and compliant workplace. Regular assessments and adherence to regulatory guidelines are necessary to protect worker health and safety.