Exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up gradually over time.
Excessive noise can have both long and short term effects on our hearing, therefore workplace exposure to noise must be understood and managed. Workplace noise can come from a diverse range of sources.
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, partial or total , in one ear or both. It can be debilitating and impact individual's ability to communicate and thus social and emotional welfare.
Noise should be either eliminated at source or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduce the level to as low as possible.
Hearing Protection should only be provided when the noise control measures still do not reduce the noise to below the recommended lower exposure level. When selecting hearing protection it should be of the correct protection level for the exposure, suitable for the working environment/task and compatible with other PPE being worn. Working methods to reduce noise can include other working methods, choice of work equipment and its maintenance, physical or temporal planning of work spaces, providing employees with information and training, reducing the duration and intensity of exposure.
Lower Exposure Action Value (LEAV)(daily of weekly) – 80dB (A-weighted) and a peak sound of 135dB (C-weighted)
Upper Exposure Action Value (UEAV)(daily of weekly) - 85dB (A-weighted) and a peak sound of 137dB (C-weighted)
Exposure Limit Values (ELV)(daily of weekly) - 87dB (A-weighted) and a peak sound of 140dB (C-weighted)
Hearing Protection Zones are designated areas where personal hearing protection is compulsory.