Noise Awareness in the Workplace FAQs and Resources

As a leading provider of Health & Safety eLearning, our experts are often asked about Noise Awareness at work. We've collected all of those questions and answered them for you below...

  • Noise Awareness FAQs

    What are the risks for employees exposed to high levels of noise?

    • Hearing damage - this can be something that is caused over time or can be a sudden occurrence.
    • Tinnitus - when you can hear a ringing, roaring or buzzing sound in one or both of your ears.
    • Can interfere with communications between people
    • Increase risk of accident due to masking sound of approaching danger
    • Exposure to prolonged loud noise can also affect pregnant women and the unborn child.
    • Increase stress - persistent or increased noise can provoke stress in people.

     

    What action should be taken when noise levels are too high or low?

    The first thing you should consider is if the noise can be eliminated altogether. You could:

    • Try using quieter equipment or processes - consider noise levels when purchasing equipment, replace the noise
    • Have controls: avoid metal on metal contact, add material to reduce vibration noise, try to isolate noise and fit silencers to air exhausts.
    • Try to lessen the noise that the surrounding people encounter - set up enclosures around machines and block direct sound with barriers
    • Create a workplace from the beginning to try and lessen noise - materials that absorb noise, design the workplace to keep machinery out of high people trafficked areas.

     

    How long does it take for a person to become deaf when noise levels are too high?

    When hearing loss occurs, it is irreversible. High noise levels can cause hearing loss which cannot always be immediately noticeable. It may only be noticeable when it impacts day to day life.

    Hearing loss can happen after a sudden loud explosive noise or it can occur after prolonged lower level noise after a long time. There is no specific time it takes to become deaf and there is no level of fitness or age to prevent it.

    When are you meant to wear noise protection equipment?

    Employers have the responsibility to issue the correct hearing protection equipment to their employees. If employees are exposed to noise at 80 decibels or above this level then your employer must have personal hearing protectors. They should provide it where extra protection is needed even with noise control regulations are in place, but not as a replacement for noise control.

    Employers have to:

    • Provide ear protection if employees ask for it and if noise exposure is between the upper and lower levels
    • Identify hearing protection zones - where protection is required
    • Provide employees with training about how to use their hearing protectors
    • Ensure that protection is used

     

    What happens if an employee refuses to wear noise protection?

    If an employee refuses noise protection then you should follow any disciplinary policies you have in place. Employers should ensure that employees know that when they start working it is company policy to wear this protection.

    It is a good idea to put someone in charge of making sure that all employees are wearing their safety equipment at the appropriate times, as well as adding it to your company policy that it must be worn at all times.

    How is the noise level measured?

    Noise is measured in decibels. A weightings are used for average levels and C levels measure peak noises. Everyone's ears register noise differently, so we might hear different noises differently. Each time a sound increases by 3 dB, the sound doubles in volume.

    What is the daily noise exposure level?

    The daily or weekly exposure that employees are not allowed to exceed is 87 dB. And a  peak sound pressure of 140 dB.

    Does the employer or employee supply noise protection?

    The employer has a responsibility to provide noise protection. But the employee also has the right to ask for noise protection too.

FAQs regarding our Noise Awareness course

What legislation is this course relevant to?

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 is the legislation relevant to this course. It states that employers have the responsibility to eliminate or reduce noise risks were they can and provide noise protection and training.

How long is this course?

This course is 25 minutes long.

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

Why is this training important?

Training is important as it is an effective way of spreading awareness and preventing damage to hearing and even hearing loss. It is also important to educate staff about what is safe and unsafe levels of noise to be exposed to. There is a focus on some industries that have more exposure to noise and where from.

What approvals does this course have?

This course is CPD accredited and IOSH approved.

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when the expiry date is set to on the certificates. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.

Documents and Resources