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Australasian Safety Services have experience providing noise monitoring services across a multitude of industries Australia-wide, including manufacturing, construction, mining, maritime, and government.

Occupational Noise

Occupational Noise

Australasian Safety Services have experience providing noise monitoring services across a multitude of industries Australia-wide, including manufacturing, construction, mining, maritime, and government.

Our Approach to Noise Monitoring

Occupational noise monitoring is undertaken to determine the level of noise that workers may be exposed to in the workplace. The results of noise monitoring are then compared against exposure standards as a means of determining whether the individual (or group of workers) is at risk of long-term damage to their hearing or Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL is one of the most common diseases for workers seeking compensation claims in Australia.

The National Standard for Occupational Noise [NOHSC:1007 (2000)] sets the maximum daily occupational noise exposure level at an eight-hour equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level (LAeq,8h) of 85 dB(A) and, for peak noise, a C-weighted peak sound pressure level (LC,peak) of 140 dB(C). This standard has been brought forward into the model WHS Regulations and those jurisdictions that persist with their legacy health and safety legislation (such as Victoria and WA).

To be define these more plainly:

LAeq,8h of 85 dB(A) means that over an eight-hour shift a worker can’t be exposed to more than 85 decibels. Whether this is exceeded depends on the level of noise involved and how long a worker is exposed to it.
LC,peak of 140 dB(C) means a worker can’t be exposed to a noise level above 140 decibels. Peak noise levels greater than this usually occur with impact or explosive noise such as sledge-hammering or a gun shot. Any exposure above this peak can create almost instant damage to hearing.

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Our consultants use a multifaceted approach following AS/NZS 1269.1:2005 (R2016) to assess noise exposure of workers. A noise assessment includes:
Personal noise exposure using personal noise dosimeters (dosimetry);
Area noise measurements using sound level meters
Task or operator specific noise measurements using sound level meters
Area noise measurements may be transcribed into a colour-coded noise map of the workplace
If there is significant tonality about a noise source, an octave-band analysis may be undertaken to determine if the supplied hearing protection is appropriate
Ensure there is adequate signage to indicate mandatory hearing protection areas
Provide a comprehensive report including recommendations for the control of noise in accordance with the hierarchy of control

All of our personal noise dosimeters, calibrators and sound level meters are calibrated by National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited calibration laboratories.
It is important to note that occupational noise assessment should be conducted any time the following occurs at a workplace:

installation or removal of machinery or other noise sources likely to cause a significant change in noise levels
a change in workload or equipment operating conditions likely to cause a significant change in noise levels or exposure times;
a change in building structure likely to affect noise levels;
a change to working arrangements affecting the length of time workers spend in noisy work areas;
or in any event, every 5 years.

The Noise Monitoring Process

We understand that having your workers away from their duties for any period of time costs money. Therefore, we aim to ensure the setup of noise monitors occurs seamlessly. Our occupational hygienists will arrive on site and setup all the equipment, ready to run. From there, workers only need to attend the setup area for a few minutes to have equipment attached and have their details collected.
Our noise assessments are undertaken by attaching personal noise monitoring equipment (also known as dosimeters or dosimetry) to workers. The dosimeters are worn atop of the shoulder, or on the collar of workers to ensure the device is within 10-20cm of the individual’s ear. Dosimeters should be worn for a minimum of one-half the workers’ shift lengths, or preferably as close as possible to the entire shift length. The data collected on the dosimeters is then used to determine each worker’s exposure level for comparison with the exposure standards. Workers may be checked upon throughout the monitoring period with additional informal conversations to understand what their roles are and how they may be exposed to the hazard in question.
In order to support and confirm the data obtain from the dosimeters, measurements of worker tasks and work areas are taken with a sound level meter. These measurements typically represent one whole cycle of a process, however may also represent critical portions of the process in isolation for the purposes of highlighting for control.
We utilise a process taken from the mining industry, whereby every worker monitored is provided with a feedback diary. The diary is a way for each worker to record the tasks that they undertook throughout the monitoring period. This helps us keep a record from the worker’s perspective of what they did throughout their shift. Of course, the Occupational Hygienist will also make observations of the workplace separate to those notes made by the workers themselves, which will include notes on each worker. At the completion of the monitoring period, the equipment is collected as well as a debrief with each worker about the monitoring period. Any information that may be relevant to result is noted.

Reporting the Results

All our reports are written in accordance with the AIOH “Guidelines for Writing Occupational Hygiene Reports 3rd Edition”. Despite the formal requirements for Occupational Hygiene reporting, we aim to write our reports in a manner that is easy to understand. We try to understand industry terminology to write the report using terms you already know.
We know there will be a number of audiences for our reports, from workers on the ground, to supervisors, managers or C-suite and members of the board. Our Executive Summary helps explain very quickly, what was assessed, what the results were and what needs to be done. The remainder of the report contains a more in-depth view at the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
Within our reporting we can utilise modern exposure assessment software including IHSTAT or IHMOD 2.0, etc. when analysing data for the purposes of determining compliance with exposures standards for various workgroups. Every report shall provide recommendations (both short and long term) for control measures that may be allocated to various stakeholders in your organisation to help provide a safer work environment.

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