We offer noise risk assessment at workplaces, not limited to only factories and plants but any workplaces exposed to high level of noise exposure, intermittent noise, impulse noise, and/or tonal noise.
The aim of the risk assessment is to help employer decide what they need to do to ensure the health and safety of employees who are exposed to noise and to avoid fines from authorities.
The DOSH MY reported a total of 5,101 cases of hearing problems due to occupational noise from January to June 2023. They recorded 8997 cases of Noise Induced Hearing Loss and confirmed 5699 out of 8997 cases in 2019. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. The Labour Force Survey UK estimated 11,000 (95% confidence interval: 7,000 – 14,000) prevalent cases of hearing problems each year caused or made worse by work according to the LFS over the last three years (2019/20 – 2021/22).
Exposure to loud noise kills the nerve endings in our inner ear. More exposure will result in more dead nerve endings. The result is permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected through surgery or with medicine. Noise-induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high frequency sounds and understand speech, which seriously impairs your ability to communicate. Hearing aids may help, but they do not restore your hearing to normal.
Hearing conservation programs strive to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves. Employers are required to measure noise levels; provide free annual hearing exams, hearing protection, and training; and conduct evaluations of the adequacy of the hearing protectors in use (unless changes made to tools, equipment, and schedules result in worker noise exposure levels that are less than the 85 dBA)
Occupational Safety and Health (Noise) Regulations 2019, MY, requirements on Occupational Noise Exposure:
No employees are allowed to be exposed to daily personal dose exceeding 85 dB(A), maximum sound pressure level at any time is above 115 dB(A) peak sound pressure level is above 140 dB(C). It also stated actionable level is at 82 dB(A).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), US requirements on Occupational Noise Exposure:
Employers to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The OSHA limit for impulsive or impact noise is also 140 dB peak sound pressure level. This limit is independent of the duration of the noise impulse. There is no OSHA limit for number of exposures to impulsive or impact noise. Impulsive or impact noise must be integrated into the measurement of continuous noise exposure.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, UK, stated the following limits:
The lower exposure action values are a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 80 dB(A) and a peak sound pressure of 135 dB(C). The upper exposure action values are a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 85 dB(A) and a peak sound pressure of 137 dB(C). The exposure limit values are a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 87 dB(A) and a peak sound pressure of 140 dB(C).
Directive 2003/10/EC (Article 3) of the European Parliament and of the Council – workers exposure to noise requirements are:
Exposure limit values and exposure action values
1. For the purposes of this Directive the exposure limit values and exposure action values in respect of the daily noise exposure levels and peak sound pressure are fixed at:
(a) exposure limit values: LEX,8h = 87 dB(A) and ppeak = 200 Pa(1) respectively;
(b) upper exposure action values: LEX,8h 85 dB(A) and ppeak = 140 Pa(2) respectively;
(c) lower exposure action values: LEX,8h = 80 dB(A) and ppeak = 112 Pa(3) respectively.
2. When applying the exposure limit values, the determination of the worker’s effective exposure shall take account of the attenuation provided by the individual hearing protectors worn by the worker. The exposure action values shall not take account of the effect of any such protectors.
3. In duly justified circumstances, for activities where daily noise exposure varies markedly from one working day to the next, Member States may, for the purposes of applying the exposure limit values and the exposure action values, use the weekly noise exposure level in place of the daily noise exposure level to assess the levels of noise to which workers are exposed, on condition that:
(a) the weekly noise exposure level as shown by adequate monitoring does not exceed the exposure limit value of 87 dB(A); and
(b) appropriate measures are taken in order to reduce the risk associated with these activities to a minimum.
(c) weighted peak sound pressure level, LcPeak
(i) 140 dB (C) in relation to 20 μPa; Considering the effect of hearing protectors
(ii) 137 dB (C) in relation to 20 μPa; Upper action values
(iii) 135 dB (C) in relation to 20 μPa; Lower action values
The underlying principles of good noise management are to
- Protect the people from developing noise induced hearing loss
- Provide competent resources
- Assess and identify the noise and vibration risks within each workplace
- Assist in managing the use and maintenance of noise control equipment and hearing protection. •Implementation of an appropriate hearing conservation programme
- Provide health surveillance for those people at risk
- Provide appropriate information and training to those employees exposed to noise and vibration hazards.
The controls should be applied in accordance with the following hierarchy:
- Eliminate or replace hazards with alternatives that present a lower overall risk
- Re-design or modify processes or tasks, to minimize the potential for exposure
- Apply appropriate engineering measures to control exposure
- Minimize any residual risks through the use of administrative control measures, for example procedures, instructions, training.
- Provide personal protective equipment for use only as secondary controls.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) PPE should not be used as an alternative to controlling noise. It shall only be used as a last resort where there is a need to provide additional protection beyond what has been achieved through other control measures, or as an interim measure while they are being developed.
Related standards in Occupational Noise Assessment that we use
- Industry Code of Practice (ICOP) for Management of Occupational Noise Exposure and Hearing Conservation 2019, MY
- Occupational Safety and Health (Noise) Regulations 2019, MY
- Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, UK
- ISO 1999:2013 Acoustics — Determination of occupational noise exposure and estimation of noise-induced hearing impairment
- ISO 9612:2009 Acoustics — Determination of occupational noise exposure — Engineering method
- European Directive 2003/10/EC
- OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 Occupational Noise Exposure for general industry
- OSHA 29 CFR 1926.52 Occupational Noise Exposure for construction