SP10 Noise

Purpose/Scope:

Sound is a form of energy carried through the air by a wave motion, consisting of small and rapid changes in pressure. As pressure is concentrated in one single area, the source of noise rapidly increases. Extreme sound energy can tear a hole in the eardrum, yet most noise-induced hearing loss is gradual and is caused by damage to nerve cells within the ear.

The best way to prevent hearing loss is to reduce noise to safe levels within the workplace. This may be through modifying equipment and purchasing quieter equipment. Where noise cannot be immediately reduced, employers must provide hearing protection to all employees who work in a noisy environment.

Any noise assessment undertaken should take into account the following:

  • identify potential source of noise exposure (plant and equipment),
  • analyse the effects (industrial deafness),
  • examine the layout of the workplace,
  • assess the risks of the job,
  • decide on control measures that need to be taken to reduce the risk (engineering controls, redesign, job rotation, PPE).

Depending on the nature of potential risk to health and safety, there are six control measures which may be implemented. A higher risk to noise exposure will justify higher control measure that may in turn involve increased effort and cost.

The method of risk control, in order of preference are as follows:

Design Allows hazards to be designed out, and control measures to be designed in.
Substitution Replacing the material or process with a less hazardous one.
Redesign Redesigning equipment or work processes to reduce or eliminate risk.
Separation Isolating the hazard from people by enclosing or guarding.
Administration Adjusting time or conditions or risk exposure.
Personal Protective Equipment Using appropriately designed and properly fitting equipment where other controls are not practicable.

Whichever method or combination thereof is implemented, employers are to ensure that noise levels in the workplace do not exceed 85 dB(A) over an eight hour period.

Definitions:

Excessive Noise is a level of noise above

  1. an 8 hour equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level of 85dB(A), referenced to 20pPa, or
  2. an unweighted peak sound pressure level of 140dB(lin), referenced to 20pPa.

Procedures:

Silverback and subcontracted personnel are to comply with the relevant provisions of the following procedural requirements and references. The typical hazards addressed by this procedure include:

Hazards Risk (Potential)
Exposure to excessive noise Moderate-High
  1. Silverback and subcontractors are to ensure that employees are warned of the risks relating to excessive noise exposure and that controls are implemented on site to minimise the effects of excessive noise.
  2. Where personal protective equipment is identified as a control, specific details and instructions concerning its correct use and placement are to be given.
  3. Where general access to the site or specific site area presents a significant noise exposure hazard, Silverback are to ensure signage is erected to identify this issue and any mandatory personal protective equipment requirements are followed.
  4. Subcontractors are to include details in their Safety Plans/Work Method Statements of specific activities that create excessive noise levels, and details of the noise control methods to be implemented while working on site.

References:

QLD Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, Sections 22 & 28-31

QLD Advisory Standard: Noise -1999

AS/NZS1269 – 1998: Occupational Noise Management Series (Parts 0-4)

Responsibility:

(Items 1-3 & to monitor compliance with this procedure) – Construction Supervisor

(Items 1-4 & to ensure adequate task specific noise controls are implemented) – Subcontractors and Silverback personnel working on site

Documentation:

• No specific records to be maintained by Silverback

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