Noise in the workplace
Current UK Government guidance relating to exposure of personnel to noise in the workplace is contained in the Noise at Work Regulations: 1989. This document specifies two Action
Levels for daily personal noise exposure level, LEP,d, and a third for individual peak noise levels, these being as follows:
First Action Level: 85 dB (A) LEP,d
Second Action Level: 90 dB (A) LEP,d
Peak Action Level: 140 dB re 20 mPa
The daily personal noise exposure level, LEP,d, is defined in the Noise at
Work Regulations: 1989 as the total exposure to noise experienced an individual over the working day. No account is taken of ear protection when calculating the daily personal noise exposure level.
Under the Regulations, where individuals are exposed to noise levels between the First Action Level and the Second Action Level, employers are required to provide suitable and efficient hearing
protection available on request.
The employer must also provide employees with information relating to the risk of damage to hearing that this exposure may cause, how employees may minimise this risk, the steps that the employee must take to obtain hearing protection and employees, obligations under the Regulations.
At the Second Action Level and Peak Action Level and above the employer is required to make suitable and efficient hearing protection available to all employees. The Regulations also state that
in areas where daily personal noise exposure levels are likely to be at the Second Action Level or above, the employer is to mark designated Ear Protection Zones, using standard signs.