If you have identified any noisy activities that may expose your workers or other people at your workplace to hazardous noise then, unless you can reduce the exposures to below the standard immediately, you should assess the risks by carrying out a noise assessment.
A noise assessment will help you:
- identify which workers are at risk of hearing loss
- determine what noise sources and processes are causing that risk
- identify if and what kind of noise control measures could be implemented
- check the effectiveness of existing control measures.
A noise assessment may not always need measurement. For example, if only one activity at the workplace – the use of a single machine – involves noise above 85 dB(A) and the manufacturer has provided information about the machine’s noise levels when it is operated in particular ways, then a sufficient assessment can be made without measurement. More complex situations may require measurement to accurately determine a worker’s exposure to noise, such as workplaces with variable noise levels over a shift and jobs where workers move in and out of noisy areas.
Who can do a noise assessment?
A noise assessment should be done by a competent person in accordance with the procedures in AS/NZS 1269.1 Measurement and assessment of noise immission and exposure. The more complex the situation, the more knowledgeable and experienced the person needs to be.
A competent person is one who has accurately calibrated noise measuring instruments and, through training and experience:
- understands what is required by the WHS Regulations for noise
- knows how to check the performance of the instruments
- knows how to take the measurements properly
- can interpret the results of the noise measurements
What information should be included in a noise assessment report?
Noise assessment reports should show that the assessment was done properly and that all factors were taken into account. An assessment report should contain all the information shown in Appendix D. Noise assessment reports should be used to select appropriate control measures. The main findings should be included in training for all workers. The reports should be made available to managers, health, and safety representatives and regulators