Noise limits should be taken seriously in the workplace. Over the years, technological advancement has brought many noisy industrial processes to the workplace. Hearing loss is not the only problem. People may develop tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears), a distressing condition which can lead to disturbed sleep.

Noise at work can interfere with communications and make warnings harder to hear. It can also reduce a person’s awareness of his or her surroundings. These factors can lead to safety risks – putting people at risk of injury or death.

Hearing damage can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the nature and volume of the noise pollution that the human has been subjected to. To confirm what damage has been caused on a person, they can undergo a measurement to determine changes in hearing.

In order to protect your workers against noise pollution and conserve hearing, consider implementing the following steps:

Evaluation of the hazard

A detailed noise survey of the workplace should be carried out. Noise limits should be adhered to where possible.

Noise Hazardous Areas to be identified by measuring how much noise is being emitted by machines, in noisy areas and workshops. Over 90db is considered to be hazardous to the human ear.

Noise reduction program.

A noise and vibration reduction program to be implemented, or as a last resort, a programme for hearing protection.

To provide you with an understanding of how loud certain noises are, see below.

  • A vacuum cleaner measures at 70dB of noise.
  • A garbage disposal unit can emit 80dB of noise (this is actually 2 times louder than 70dB in real terms).
  • A motorbike engine heard from 25 feet is 90dB (this is actually 4 times louder than 70dB in real terms).
  • A jet that is 1000 feet overhead can be measured at 100dB (8 x louder than 70dB).

The noisiest example is the 110dB rock concert which is actually 16 times louder than 70dB. This can cause significant damage and can result in temporary hearing loss. Many musicians have lost their hearing due to performing regularly at concerts.

If your business could be considered as having noise pollution, you may want us to visit your workplace for a professional noise assessment. You can protect the hearing of your workforce and save insurance costs by imposing noise limits in your business.