Safety and health- Noise risks in the workplace

Eradication of noise is the most efficient way to prevent hazards to workers and should be considered when new equipment is bought for workplaces. Low noise equipment should be chosen whenever possible.

A project manager or the equivalent person is responsible for displaying that the noise levels of that equipment have been considered as part of the selection process. The control of noise generation or exposure should be considered at every stage of the project and recorded with proper controls. Site management should supervise activities and decide when noise assessments are necessary. As a thumb rule, if two people stand 2m apart, they have to raise their voices to be heard, then a possible noise issue exists and an assessment should be made.

Occupational noise assessments should be undertaken by a competent person using a calibrated noise meter and should include an octave band analysis. A result sheet should be used here. Where a noise issue is detected, all the right steps should be taken to lessen the noise at source and should consider both workplace design and equipment and maintenance.

Engineering controls to include this might include isolation of the source, reduction at source or in the way, replacement or alteration of machines and executing efficient preventative maintenance.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) like ear muffs and ear plugs should be used as the last option, after all the endeavors to eradicate or lessen the source of noise have been exhausted for. Ear protection should be chosen from the approved PPE list and should be ideal for the duration and type of the noise, be compatible with other PPE and properly stored and maintained.

People should be given a choice of proper hearing protection, so they can choose the most convenient solution. Training should be given for its maintenance, storage and use. All the people should be informed about the noise hazard so that they can look for generator noise control solutions. Ear protection zones should be properly marked with the standard blue and white ear protection logo signs.

Health surveillance should be maintained where workers are regularly exposed above the Upper Exposure Action Values or when workers are occasionally exposed above the Upper Exposure Action value, specifically if people are sensitive to noise, have a family history of the risk or have past exposures. All personnel should get training and information to assist them realizes and deals with noise related hazards with outdoor sound barrier walls residential.

This should include, but not restricted to the hazards faced, the result of the risk assessment with noise measurements and hearing protection and STC noise control products, including restricted areas and PPE.

Documentation associated with noise hazards should be maintained at the work site. In bigger companies, on completion of the project, all information should be archived at the head office of the company, including induction and briefing records, noise risk assessment, PPE issue records, health surveillance records and noise tracking and measurements.

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