30_HSE_Corner HSE Corner: Reducing Noise in the Workplace

Exposure over periods of time to excessive noise will lead to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), one of the most common overexposures results from the workplace and through failures to mitigate the risk of overexposure.

Local Order 61 of 1991 contains requirements for noise emissions and noise exposure by employees in the workplace. To ensure compliance with these requirements and prevent the risk to employees of overexposure, noise reducing measures should be implemented.

There are several ways of reducing noise and preventing noise exposure and a combination of methods often works the best.

Controlling noise in the workplace can be done using a hierarchy of control method by:

  • eliminating the noise at source,
  • substituting material or equipment and changing work processes to reduce the noise completely,
  • the use of engineering methods to control the noise at source and workplace design, this could include modifying the paths by which the noise travels through the air to people exposed,
  • administrative controls, reorganising of shift patterns, limiting or even halving the time spent in noisy areas, and
  • as the last resort, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Risk assessments should be carried within the company by competent people to identify workers who may be at risk from noise exposure and enable the employer to reduce the levels of noise. It will also enable employers to establish noise-free areas, select the right type of hearing protection and give necessary information to the workers.


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