Regular exposure to excessive levels of noise can lead to permanent hearing loss. The NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation defines excessive noise as noise levels that:
- exceed an 8-hour noise equivalent of 85 dB(A), or
- peak at more than 140 dB(C)
Eighty-five dB is approximately as loud as heavy city traffic.
Noise can also be annoying or interfere with work. The impacts of noise depend both on the noise level and its characteristics and how it is perceived by the person affected.
Supervisors have a legal obligation to take steps to minimise staff and students risk of exposure to excessive levels of noise.
Step 1: Identify the hazard
Identify where noise exposure may be a problem.
Step 2: Assess risk
Determine if the noise level is above occupational exposure limits or whether the noise is offensive or likely to cause distress - this should involve consultation with affected persons.
Step 3: Controlling the risk
Adopt control measures to reduce the level of noise to as low as is practicable.
Provide appropriate hearing protection if noise level cannot be reduced below the exposure limit, further information on hearing protection is provided in the section on personal protective equipment.
Step 4: Monitoring controls
Regularly review the situation to make sure the exposure to noise remains adequately controlled.
- UTS: Building services if you think that there may be a problem with excessive noise levels in your area, to request that the noise levels be measured.
- Safety & Wellbeing for further information or advice.
State government legislation
- Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (New South Wales) Part 4.1 (opens an external site)
- Noise at Work (opens an external site)
- Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work - Code of Practice April 2016 (opens an external site - PDF 685Kb)