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Case study: Noise at Work assessment

Metrica’s acoustics team were commissioned to carry out a Noise at Work assessment for a large paper manufacturer in North Yorkshire. A site visit was undertaken, which included the following:

  • Measurement of noise levels at all operators positions
  • Recording the type, make, condition and approximate daily use of all equipment
  • Measurement of noise levels at 1 m in front of all noise generating equipment
  • General noise measurements around the site to identify potential noise protection zones
  • Appraisal of existing hearing protection signage around the factory floor
  • Discussion with shift manager to determine working patterns
  • Identification of areas and operations where noise control measures could be utilised to reduce noise levels

A report was produced in accordance with the Noise at Work Regulations, and included the following sections:

  • Overview of the site
  • Results of noise levels measured for all plant items and operations
  • Comparison of results to the exposure action values
  • Calculation of how long equipment can be used before exceeding action values
  • Identification of areas which exceed lower and upper action values
  • Recommendation of noise control techniques to reduce noise exposure
  • Discussion of hearing protection

In order to reduce noise exposure to as low as reasonably practicable, a number of technical and organisational controls were recommended.  Some of the different types of noise control are summarised below:

  • Job design – noisy equipment should only be used when required
  • Job rotation – where employees have varying exposures to noise
  • Change of machine – consider purchasing quieter models, where possible
  • Change of activity – changing the design of construction to avoid noisy processes
  • Workplace design – consider changing the layout of the workplace to reduce noise exposure
  • Noise control – such as enclosures, silencers, screens, barriers or noise refuges

For more information about Noise at Work assessments, please see our Noise at Work page, or get in touch!