How noisy is your work?
Resources for workers to help them understand the risks of hazardous noise levels, and information on what their business must do for them to protect their health and safety.
Use this checklist to decide if the noise levels at your work are harmful
- Do you use noisy power tools or machinery at work such as jackhammers or explosive powered tools?
- Do you find it harder to hear people and things as the day goes on?
- Do you experience a ringing in your ears during the day or at night, or have muffled hearing? You might not be able to hear the beginning of sentences or when people have their backs to you.
- Do you need to raise your voice to communicate with someone about one metre away?
- Do you find that there is too much noise or that you can't clearly hear instructions or warning signals?
- Are the noise levels at your work loud enough to need hearing protection?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be at risk of losing your hearing.
Your business has a duty to protect your health and safety, and must take steps to manage the risks from hazardous noise levels in your work. You can play a part in helping your business to protect you.
What do you have to do?
Tell your manager, union rep or Health and Safety Representative (HSR) if you think that the noise levels in your work are too loud, or if you are concerned about your hearing. If you work in a noisy environment, take breaks in a quiet space away from noisy machinery or equipment as much as possible.
Look out for other workers and encourage them to wear hearing protection when needed. Speak up if you feel worried about other people being at risk from harmful noise. You could talk to your HSR if you have one.
Your business should give you training on how to use, fit and maintain hearing protection correctly. Ask for a replacement if it is damaged, or needs to be cleaned. Report any problems with your hearing protection to your business or HSR (if you have one). You must not intentionally damage or use the hearing protection incorrectly.
What does your business have to do?
Ways that your business can reduce the risks from hazardous noise are:
- choosing quieter machinery or equipment
- changing the layout of the work environment to create quiet areas of work
- limiting the time you spend in noisy areas by rotating tasks or shifts.
- providing you with hearing protection if noise risks can’t be eliminated or minimised.
Your business needs to have easy ways for you to speak up if you think they aren’t doing enough to manage noise risks at work. They should communicate with you or your HSR.
Your business must provide you with information and training on how to manage hazardous noise risks, identify sources of noise, and protect your hearing. They should ask you what you already know about noise and work to build on this knowledge.
Your business should arrange regular hearing tests if you are exposed to hazardous levels of noise at work. A competent person will determine if hearing tests are needed.
If there are hazardous noise levels at your work, your business should get a competent person to carry out a detailed noise assessment to identify high risk areas and tasks. They must make the results of any monitoring available to you, consult with you when making decisions about how they will do the monitoring and what control measures they will put in place.
Toolbox training kit for workers
This is a booklet which can be printed or viewed on screen. It contains activities to support learning about understanding noise and noise induced hearing loss. The activities are supported by the videos and guiadnce on the website.
Within the document there is information for the person taking the session (trainer) and also suggestions for shared discussions and activities. The booklet follows a sequence of learning which starts by finding out what people already know and then bringing in other ideas and finally viewing them within different situations (transferring knowledge) .