Typically, the employer/safety coordinator/WHS manager should understand the workplace enough to tell the assessor previous information on noise in the workplace and the staff potentially at risk from noise exposure. Any previous history of training and precautionary actions is also welcomed by the assessor.
The assessor will conduct the noise survey during standard work hours to accurately assess noise levels during various tasks performed in an employee’s shift, especially how long each worker is exposed to potentially hazardous noise.
This may seem simple, but it takes years of experience and a steady hand to understand the delicate calibration of the equipment as well as the many variables and environmental factors.
Surveying the noise in an office cubicle is very different to recording the noise that a marshal at an eventful bus interchange is exposed to.
A WHS Specialist will most likely utilise a sound level meter and a noise dosimeter to
conduct these assessments, to determine what remedial action for noise control is required.
A sound level metre and a noise dosimeter have to be calibrated close to when the assessment is performed, these calibration certificates should be provided with the report.
The sound level meter will mostly be moved to the places in the workplace that need to be recorded (where hazardous noise has been identified). A dosimeter allows noise measurements to be taken 10 to 20cm away from a workers ear, which evidently tells an accurate story of the noise exposure of an employee’s shift.
Once the WHS specialist has made their assessments they will be able to write a report with their findings and determine what action is necessary. The solutions suggested can vary greatly depending on the findings and the adaptivity of the workplace to minimise noise and high exposure tasks.
It could be as simple as suggesting the right hearing protection and task rotation to reduce exposure time, or like the picture below, keeping workers further away from the sound source (if possible). The class of hearing protection will be determined by the dB level, less than 90 dB is class 1, while 105 will need class 5.
If further action is required the experienced WHS/Active OHS consultant can suggest changes to the workplace, tasks and tools. This could be such things like: cushioning a table to reduce the impact of a nail gun, insulating a floor near heavy machinery to prevent whole body vibration (which can damage the inner ear).
In conclusion, the more complex and problematic a hazardous task is, the more creative the strategy will need to be, but with an Active OHS consultants experience, it will put an employer in the best possible position to reduce hazardous noise.
Active OHS Recommendation: An audiometric test should be carried out within 3 months of a new worker starting in a work environment where noise levels exceed the exposure standard. This is anywhere where hearing protection is required.
The impact of noise exposure differs from worker to worker, so care must be taken to ensure individuals in these environments are properly looked after. Active OHS has teamed up with a mobile audiometric testing facility that is always on hand to provide assistance when required.
To help with any of your noise-related questions or WHS needs in general, please do not hesitate to contact Active OHS on 02 9821 3321 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org