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Understanding Noise Levels And Their Dangers In The Workplace


A noise survey is simply the process of taking the measurement of noise throughout a section or complete in order to identify noisy areas. Surveys are used to determine if employees are being exposed to excessive occupational levels that exceed the exposure limits that were set into motion by specific government regulations or company limits. It is important to know that the United Kingdom is not the only country that has developed these types of workplace regulations and it is essential that employees are not exposed to sound levels exceeding 85dB throughout an 8 hour day. See here for Auricl.

Why A Noise Survey Is Important

Noise surveys are needed to help provide important information which allows a safety professional to identify the following:

- Specific areas where employees may be exposed to overly harmful levels of noise.

- Taking note of specific pieces of equipment that generate harmful levels of noise.

- Employee who may be getting exposed to excessive levels of noise.

The survey needs to be conducted in an area where noise levels may be harmful such as in a workshop or assembly line. In many instances, the survey will be conducted to measure noise levels with the use of a sound level meter. Noise level readings will be taken at a number of positions throughout the noisy area. A noise map will be created through the drawing of lines on a sketch that is between the two points of equal sound levels. These types of maps are essential as they offer a wide amount of data to help identify noise levels. Our solutions pages offer much more information about workplace noise action limits and surveys.

What Is Involved In A Noise Survey?

Noises will be typically measured with a sound level meter which will measure Sound Pressure Levels in dB as well as higher-level sounds in Pascal.

There are two specific types of sound meters, direct and integrated reading materials. Meters will measure the amount and level of sound over an average period of time which is essential to determine large variations of sound levels. This value is known as continuous equivalent noise level which is gathered over an 8 hour period.

The noise measurement device or sound level meter needs to be calibrated before and after each specific measurement session. In order to take a measurement, the sound level meter will be held at arm's length at the height of the ear to those that are exposed to the noise. It is important that measurements are taken at each ear.

When assessing the possibility of hearing loss, the microphone should be as close as possible to the employee's ear as possible for a reliable measurement. For stationary workers, the microphone will need to be positioned directly above the shoulder and as close to the ear as possible. If the employee works in a standing position, the microphone needs to be placed about 1.5 meters above the floor. Finally, if an employee works in a sitting position, the microphone needs to be placed at least 1 meter over the floor.

If the working environment features variable, intermittent, or impulse noise levels, the sound level meter needs to be placed in an area where the employee would receive an average level of sound throughout their shift.

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