In April 2006, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations came into force and the following limits for personal exposure to noise at work were implemented:
Lower Exposure Action Value: a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 80 dB(A) and a peak pressure level of 135 dB(C)
At this level employers are required to provide suitable information and training, and hearing protection for those who request such. Employers also have a duty to provide hearing tests if there is evidence that their employees’ hearing is at risk;
Upper Exposure Action Value: a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 85 dB(A) and a peak pressure level of 137 dB(C)
At this level employers have a duty to put in place control measures to reduce noise levels; designate ear protection zones and ensure that workers wear hearing protection. Employees now have a right to hearing tests;
Exposure Limit Value: a daily or weekly average personal noise exposure of 87 dB(A) and a peak pressure level of 140 dB(C)
Employers will be required to ensure that employee noise exposure, taking into account any hearing protection worn, does not exceed this value.
EMS can provide this service by conducting walkthrough surveys with a precision sound level meter, recording continuous equivalent noise exposures (Leqs), supplemented with personal dosimetry where appropriate. From these measurements total daily exposures (LEP,d) can be calculated and compared to the exposure action values. Octave band analysis for noisier operations is also available to help determine the correct level of protection required for employees.
The resulting report will include noise maps of the site, also showing where hearing protection zones are required. There will also be full recommendations on how the company can comply with the regulations with regard to the findings of the survey.
Hearing loss caused by noise exposure is estimated to affect over 170,000 people in the United Kingdom alone, ensure that you do not further contribute to that number!
In 2014 a revision of the British Standard 4142 was published, replacing the 1997 edition. This standard looks at rating and assessing sound from industrial/commercial processes that is likely to effect residential neighbours, and its scope has been broadened significantly.
The standard is used to assess noise nuisance in mixed industrial and residential areas. Environmental noise can loosely be defined as any unwanted sound at dwellings in the vicinity of a company, and can embrace industrial noise, noise from transport, as well as noise from domestic premises. Recent surveys show that noise is the most widespread of environmental pollutants, and is the greatest source of complaints to Environmental Health Officers.
A type 1 sound level meter is used to record noise measurements, usually at the nearest local receptors, when the source of noise is both running and not running. Measurements may need to be taken at differing times of the day, including night time should the noise source be running then. Characteristics of the noise sources, such as whether the noise is typically broad-ban, tonal and/or impulsive also need to be taken into account.
The resulting report will present the findings of the survey, comparing the results to any conditions placed on the company by local councils as regards noise, and also provide guidance on reducing noise emissions from the site.