and what should you do about it?
- Consult with workers in your Designated Work Group (DWG) regarding the noise levels and what effects it might be having on them.
- Request that your employer undertake a noise assessment. The employer has a legal duty to do this both under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 (Part 3.2: Noise) and under the OHS Act [Section 22(1)(b)] which requires the employer to monitor conditions at the workplace.
If the noise level either exceeds the exposure standard or is close to exceeding it,
ensure your employer understands that this is a risk to workers and
that, under the Noise regulations, this risk must be assessed and
controlled. The assessment and control of the risk must be done in
consultation with the workers and the OHS Reps. The regulations specify
that the risk
cannot be controlled only by provision of hearing protectors,
unless it is not practicable
to reduce the noise firstly at source using engineering controls and
secondly by administrative controls.
Where personal hearing protectors are necessary, it is important that these be effective: it may mean fitting these devices individually and so on. Just handing out rubber earplugs may not be very useful. There are very high tech devices now available on the market, for example earpieces specifically designed for certain levels and types of noise and individually fitted. See the HearingTech website for an example of such products.
- If the noise level is not above the exposure standard, it may still be a hazard (see the information in Why is noise a problem?) and you can have this addressed under Section 21 of the OHS Act.
Last amended June 2015