A noise risk assessment should be carried out when workers and others may be exposed to excessive noise levels. A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure that workers are not exposed to noise that exceeds the exposure standard for noise. The exposure standard for noise is defined in Part 4.1 Noise of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 as LAeq,8h of 85 dB(A) or an LC,peak of 140 dB(C).
To assess noise levels a sound level meter (SLM) or noise dose meter (NDM) should be used. These meters are designed to measure a frequency-weighted and time-weighted value of the sound pressure level.
OHSA has conducted 100’s of noise surveys across many industries:
The aims of noise risk assessments are to:
Noise assessments should be repeated at least every five years or whenever there is a change of plant, work processes, building structure or duration of work arrangements. Noise assessment records should be kept at the workplace and made available for inspection by workers.
More detailed information on noise measurement and recording is available in part 1 of AS/NZS 1269: Occupational noise management. A person carrying out a noise assessment should meet the competency requirements set out in appendix A of part 1 of AS/NZS 1269.
An important step in managing noise in the workplace is the development of a noise control policy, which should cover:
A hearing conservation program sets out the ways the noise policy will be achieved. Elements of commitment to a hearing conservation program are as follows:
Information and training for workers should include the following points:
This training should also be provided to all staff responsible for purchasing of plant, noise control equipment and personal hearing protectors.
Consultation should be undertaken between the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and workers in the planning stage about the introduction or purchase of potentially noisy plant or changes to existing plant at the workplace.