Noise at Work / Workplace Noise Article by Blue Tree Acoustics
The Noise at Work Regulations, 2005 sets out the duties placed on employers with regard to potential noise impact on their employees.
The potential noise impact is not just a factor of noise level, but also of exposure time.
A very loud noise may be permissible if employees are exposed for only a small time interval.
The regulations set out a series of levels which represent noise doses. If any employee experiences a dose higher than the prescribed values, then hearing protection must be provided, and depending on the level of noise, this may have to be worn, or it may be an option for the employee to wear or not wear.
The regulations are more complicated than this. They require that where possible noise should be reduced at source or via design so that hearing protection is not necessary as levels are sufficiently low.
This design may include changing working methods, using lower noise operations, relocating noise sources, changing hours of work in noisy areas, rotating staff and providing enclosures.
Hearing protection provision is the last step in the process.
The regulations also require that employees are trained and given sufficient information about noise and hearing protection.
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