Undertaking the Workplace
A noise assessment may be simple or quite complex, depending on the type of workplace, the number of workers and the information already available regarding workplace / occupational noise exposure levels. When no prior information is available, an initial or preliminary noise survey and noise assessment is made (walkthrough Noise Survey) to establish if noise exposure is acceptable or not. Noise measurements are to be undertaken in accordance with Australian Standards AS1269 and AS 2659. Where noise measurements indicate that hearing protection is likely to be necessary, readings in dB(C) may also be taken during the initial noise assessment in order to determine the attenuation required by personal hearing protectors.
Alternatively, a separate follow-up noise assessment or detailed noise assessment may be required for this purpose. In some cases, more complex noise measurements are required in order to determine employees’ occupational noise exposure with acceptable accuracy, or for the selection of personal hearing protectors. For example, octave band analysis of the noise may be required if the noise contains intense tonal, high frequency or low frequency components. This can also be part of the detailed occupational noise assessment.
The workplace noise assessment includes the following:
- Spot noise measurements of work areas, equipment, tools and machinery at operator position and collection of noise measurements data including LAeq, LCeq, LCPeak and where required octave band data for evaluating hearing protection and other control measures
- Shift long personal noise exposure monitoring by the use of worker worn noise dosimeters
- Review of existing control measures adopted at the site including personal protective equipment and attenuation data
- Identification of ototoxic substances and potential exposure to hand-arm vibration likely to increase the risk of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)
- Hearing protection signage review
- Where requested develop noise contour map for the site
- Review of noise awareness training requirements
- Determining workers requiring audiometric testing and the frequency of testing
- Recommendations for appropriate control measures including suggested engineering noise control measures
- Recommendations for hearing protection required to reduce occupational exposure to noise
- Comprehensive report detailing the noise measurement data and itemised recommended practical control measures.