Occupational Noise

Occupational Noise & Noise Risk Assessment

Serving clients of all sizes across a wide range of industries, we work closely with organisations to deliver a full site of occupational noise services, including noise risk assessments.

Occupational noise

It is estimated that about one million people in the UK are working in conditions that may damage their hearing unless precautions are taken (source: National Society for Clean Air and Environment Protection, NSCA). Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can lead to stress, fatigue or even deafness. Employers have a duty of care to protect employees who may be at risk of exposure to noise at work.

If your company is involved in manufacturing, fabrication or engineering, you will know that it is essential to manage carefully and continuously your quality, health & safety and environmental issues throughout your industrial processes.

Noise regulations

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations place a duty of care on employers to protect all employees who may be at risk of exposure to noise and vibration. The Acoustics & Vibration Group has a long history of providing services in this area both onshore and offshore. Whether an industrial plant, an offshore installation or a shipping or fishing vessel (under the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels Control of Noise at Work Regulations), we can help manage noise and achieve compliance. 

Are you meeting your obligations?

Where employees are likely to be exposed to a daily or weekly average of 80 decibels or more, employers must assess the risk to health, providing information and training to reduce that risk.

At an average exposure level of 85 decibels, employers must demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable measures to reduce the exposure, including plant selection, engineering options and operational procedures.

Only where this has been demonstrated, should the use of appropriate hearing protection and designation of Hearing Protection Zones be considered.

What are the risks of occupational noise

Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can lead to stress, fatigue or even deafness and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reports that there are an estimated 20,000 workers with work-related hearing problems in the UK. This includes 1,505 new claims under the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Scheme between 2007 and 2016.

The National Society for Clean Air and Environment Protection estimates that about one million people in the UK are working in conditions that may damage their hearing unless precautions are taken.

Occupational noise - Our Services

When it comes to occupational noise we offer a broad range of services. These include:

  • Assessment of employee exposure to noise 
  • Provision of management plans, policies and procedures to manage the risk and enable compliance with the regulations and HSE requirements
  • Noise management audits
  • Workplace risk assessments
  • Workplace noise mapping
  • Noise design and control studies
  • Audiometry programme audits and assessments
  • Noise dosimetry studies
  • Noise awareness and Noise Competent Person (NCP) training of local operators in assessing noise and vibration
  • PA and alarm assessments, design and verification (SOLAS)
  • Bespoke Noise Exposure Management System (NEMS) for high-risk sites
  • Expert witness

The Benefits

  • Demonstration of compliance with the regulations
  • Identification of high-risk activities to allow jobs to be pre-planned
  • Significant time and cost savings through identification of noise control options providing the greatest benefits
  • Access to a full range of testing, inspection and certification services from Bureau Veritas experts

These services can be combined and carried out at the same time as part of a multi-disciplinary survey including, among others, occupational hygiene and occupational vibration. Please see our dedicated page for occupational vibration here. 

NEMS (Noise Exposure Management System)

In some cases it can be beneficial to manage site noise exposure via the use of NEMS (Noise Exposure Management System). Developed and offered exclusively by the Acoustics and Vibration Group of Bureau Veritas, NEMS is a comprehensive management system used widely across the offshore industry to further demonstrate compliance with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations.

The system calculates noise exposure levels for the workforce, identifies areas or tasks which make the greatest contributions to noise exposures on site, and provides risk indicators and recording facilities for assessment of ongoing compliance. The system can also be used to model the potential effectiveness of different noise control measures to assess cost-effective risk reduction. To learn more about NEMS, check our dedicated page here.

PA and Alarm Systems Assessments

We can perform tests on Public Address and Alarm systems including direct measurement of the acoustic performance of the system for audibility and intelligibility, typically comprising an alarm sound level survey and quantitative speech intelligibility tests. Surveys can be carried out either for verification purposes (to provide compliance with the written scheme of examination) or to help improve system performance.

This type of assessment is suitable for offshore installation and vessels and can be carried out against industry compliance criteria or specific operators’ requirements. 

Experts in noise consultancy, noise inspections and noise hazards in the workplace

The Acoustics & Vibration Group is a UK specialist team in Bureau Veritas and operates as part of a wider global team of acousticians.  Our team of experienced consultants are all members of the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) and offer specialist noise and vibration consultancy to a wide range of clients. 

We pride ourselves on our customer focus, and are able to bring experience from a wide range of sectors, to help our clients achieve compliance with legislation and best practice

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