Monitoring Noise Levels in the Workplace
Excessive noise can result in long-term health effects including hearing loss, tinnitus and more. A noise survey is used to determine if employees are being exposed to occupational noise levels exceeding the exposure limits set by OSHA regulations. Noise surveys help determine areas where employees are likely being exposed to harmful levels of noise as well as machines and equipment that are generating excessive noise.
A noise survey is carried out using a sound level meter which reads Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) as well as the highest noise level reached. To collect data on noise, Industrial Hygienists or Safety Professionals must identify the sampling equipment that will best suit the objectives of the study.
- Sound Level Meter: A hand-held instrument that measures sound pressure level using Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) in dB(A) as well as the highest noise level reached, the peak sound pressure in Pascal (Pa).
- Noise Dosimeter: A personal device commonly worn by an employee to determine the personal noise dose during their working hours. It is often used to comply with OSHA noise standards as the device can measure an employee’s exposure to noise and compute noise dose calculations.
- Octave band analyzer: A more advanced sound level meter that divides noise into its frequency components. The data collected allows for analysis regarding the breakdown of frequencies that make up the noise. It helps determine the effectiveness of various types of frequency-dependent noise controls, such as barriers and personal protective equipment (PPE).
If the noise level measurement exceeds the compliance level, then action should be taken to reduce levels and/or provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). IFO Group Certified Industrial Hygienists are here to help you monitor noise levels and create a plan to help protect your workers from noise exposure.