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markeland  
#1 Posted : 14 March 2019 17:42:31(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
markeland

Hi all, just looking for some advice please.

I'm working in a large food manufacturing plant where dB levels fluctuate between 75 and 87. The higher range is usually for a few seconds a minute, sometimes longer than a few seconds.

Employees work 8 hour shifts and many complain that they shouldn't have to wear hearing protection because the noise level isn't consistently over 85dB (mandatory level).

I think that a few seconds a minute still constitutes that mandatory hearing protection should be worn at all times.

Any thoughts please?

George_Young  
#2 Posted : 14 March 2019 18:31:38(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
George_Young

I would recommend using the noise ready reckoner to work out your daily/weekly exposure, decide from there and record your reasons why you choose to use PPE or not.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/calculator.htm

SNS  
#3 Posted : 14 March 2019 19:08:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SNS

When I did the Noise Assessors course through the EEF / Institute of Acoustics our trainer lead us to believe the the limit was too general and too high. In the same way that some are more susceptible (spelling?) to some chemicals, some can be more likely to have hearing damage from lower levels.

It is also affected by frequency and octave banding of the sources.

Markeland, you could get another full noise assessment done or have it measured for a few shifts on personal monitors to get more information.

Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 14 March 2019 19:55:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Fully support getting some proper dosimetry checks conducted and see what the workers are actually exposed to.

When the regulations first appeared many set off in to factories with noise meters and concluded the whole site was mandatory based on one or two peaks.

It is likely through a decent survey you will identify areas and specific machines - then you will possibly discover these are components rather than a total assembly meaning opportunities to eliminate noise at source have been overlooked during design and installation.

Bit of investment and the possibility no one requires any hearing protection unless they choose to.

A Kurdziel  
#5 Posted : 15 March 2019 13:38:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Reg 6 of the Noise At Work regs states that noise levels should be: “reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable”, which means that even if a noise is just below the threshold action level you  might still need  reduce it ALARP.

Hsquared14  
#6 Posted : 15 March 2019 14:47:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post

Reg 6 of the Noise At Work regs states that noise levels should be: “reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable”, which means that even if a noise is just below the threshold action level you  might still need  reduce it ALARP.

I've always understood it that ALARP applied to engineering control of noise at source and not to provision of hearing protection.  I am wrong on that?  I would be looking to reduce the noise at source as it is so close to the lower limit thereby removing the need for hearing protection which can make people feel isolated and cut off.  surely we shouldn't be jumping to put people in hearing protection (or any form of PPE for that matter) if control can be achieved by other means?

thanks 1 user thanked Hsquared14 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 15/03/2019(UTC)
Connor35037  
#7 Posted : 15 March 2019 16:09:55(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Connor35037

As the shift is 8 hours it will be straightforward to establish the noise dose (Lepd) experienced by employees in that area.

Employees can be exposed to "high" noise levels for short durations; it's the exposure over the 8hr period that is the important figure.

Don't forget to consider peak noise (loud impacts etc.) as well.

A Kurdziel  
#8 Posted : 15 March 2019 16:47:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Originally Posted by: Hsquared14 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post

Reg 6 of the Noise At Work regs states that noise levels should be: “reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable”, which means that even if a noise is just below the threshold action level you  might still need  reduce it ALARP.

I've always understood it that ALARP applied to engineering control of noise at source and not to provision of hearing protection.  I am wrong on that?  I would be looking to reduce the noise at source as it is so close to the lower limit thereby removing the need for hearing protection which can make people feel isolated and cut off.  surely we shouldn't be jumping to put people in hearing protection (or any form of PPE for that matter) if control can be achieved by other means?/quote]

Good Question and I had to check (I had always assumed ALARP) but as you said this only applies to the controls at source. It says specifically in the guidance that you should not be issuing hearing perfection unless it is an actually Hearing Protection Zone.

This proves several things:

  1.  it's been a long week
  2. always read all of the regulations in their entirety not just the one that you think deal with subject at hand
  3. The guidance is where the real details are.

 

Thank You

 

Hsquared14  
#9 Posted : 18 March 2019 10:19:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Kurdziel - I've been off sick for 6 months and not in a position to keep myself up to date - anything could have happened in that time!!  Thank you for doing the detailed check,  sometimes I think this stuff is more complicated than it needs to be, I'm sure half the bulk of the guidance could be cut out and it would be more intelligible.

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