Are you monitoring the noise exposures in you workplace?
WorkSafe NZ is actively encouraging employers to undertake workplace monitoring to assess the environment that their employees are working in. Such assessments may include noise, dust, chemical exposure, lighting levels or exposure to moulds and fungi.
If you have already taken steps to monitor the hearing of your employees by carrying out annual hearing tests, that is great news – however this is only part of the process.
Noise exposure monitoring is required under the Health and Safety at Work Act, General Risk and Workplace Management (GRWM) regulations. It is a requirement that a workplace noise assessment or survey is completed every 5 years or if any new equipment has been installed or if any equipment has been withdrawn from use.
Constant exposure to noise from tools and machinery can put your workers at risk of permanent hearing damage. Loud machinery and work tools can cause harm to your workers’ hearing. As well as impact noises such as those from sudden loud noises, heavy loads being dropped, or heavy hammering.
If you find you have to raise your voice to have a normal conversation when standing around a metre apart, for at least part of the day, then noise levels on the site could be damaging hearing. If at the end of the day you notice that your hearing is muffled or your ears are ringing then noise levels could also be too high.
The best way to prevent hearing loss is to reduce your and your employees exposure to excessive noise. This can be done by quietening the source of the noise, stopping noise from reaching people, reducing the time people are exposed (i.e. eliminate, substitute or isolate) and by wearing the correct type of personal hearing protection.
The noise monitoring required under the GRWM regulations must be carried out by or under the supervision of a competent person who has sufficient knowledge, skills and experience in the appropriate techniques and procedures including the interpretation of the results. The TriEx Occupational Hygiene team can assist you with all of this.
Our Occupational Hygienists are well experienced and are trained in conducting, interpreting and providing recommendations following workplace noise assessments.
Workplace noise assessments include the identification of noise sources, the assessment of employee noise exposures, advice on administrative and PPE controls and recommendations for engineering and longer term controls. Advice is also provided as to what level of hearing protection is required and the type of hearing protection device best suits the working environment.