A noise assessment in accordance with current legislation ie Safety Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, can help determine which level employees are being exposed to.
Noise means any audible sound and is measured in decibels (dB).
Workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels above 85 dB(A) will be at increased risk of damage to their hearing resulting in noise-induced hearing loss.
One in five of Europe’s workers have to raise their voices to be heard for at least half of the time that they are at work and 7% suffer from work-related hearing difficulties (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).
Anyone who is exposed to noise is potentially at risk. The higher the noise level and the longer you are exposed to it, the more risk you have of suffering ill effects from noise.
As a rule of thumb you may be at risk if:
- You have to shout to be clearly heard by someone two meters away
- Your ears are still ringing after leaving the workplace
- The noise is intrusive – e.g. a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant for most of the day
- You work in a noisy industry, e.g. construction, woodworking, canning or bottling
- There are noises due to impacts such as those caused by hammering, impact tools and cartridge-operated tools.