Safeguard Employees From Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Harmful levels of noise can lead to serious health and safety issues such as noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus or other conditions for workers employed in noisy industries

by Pascale O'Rourke | Tuesday 19 September 2017


Over time, if the noise from tools, machinery and processes is loud consistently and not monitored or controlled, workers who are exposed to it will suffer permanent hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by a single exposure to loud noise such as an explosion although this is a rare event. More typically, the condition will be caused by repeated exposure to moderately loud noise. While an operator may feel that he/she has become used to the noisy environment, their ears could be taking strain without even noticing it. High levels of noise damage the delicate structures of the inner ear and, over time, can lead to hearing loss. Since there is no way to repair these cells, the damage is permanent. The risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise is especially high among staff operating in factories and heavy industry. Some of the worst tools for hearing damage include saws, drills, punch press, angle grinders, rotary hammers, milling, diecast and moulding machines to name but a few.

Hearing damage may hinder the lives of those it affects and can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.

Prevention is key to safeguarding hearing and employers, managers and employees need to understand the risk of unprotected noise exposure.

Under the UK’s Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), employers are required to identify where there may be a risk from noise and who is likely to be affected, monitor noise levels and estimate exposures against published guidance, take noise-control action measures, provide health surveillance as required and deliver training.

The regulations expect employers to take specific measures at three defined noise levels. It is important that you familiarise yourself with these and implement any recommendations as part of your hearing conservation programme.
In order to comply with the noise regulations, you will need to measure noise levels regularly using a compliant sound level meter. However, handheld noise measurement devices are not always the best solution in practice. If you are looking to monitor the workers’ average noise exposure throughout the day, but their jobs involve a lot of movement from one workstation to the next, a personal noise exposure meter worn on the shoulder throughout the duration of the shift such as the Pulsar Model 22 may be a more practicable option.

If you or your company requires professional guidance to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss in manufacturing or engineering, Pulsar Instruments can help. We have a wide range of compliant sound level meters, personal sound exposure meters and associated equipment to suit virtually every workplace application.

Pulsar Instruments have produced a number of support documents for managers in the manufacturing industry including a free downloadable e-guide: 5 Steps to controlling noise at work. We also publish regular blogs specifically around workplace noise measurement, legal requirements and latest products available – consult Pulsar Noise Blog at


Sarah Brack
Pulsar Instruments Plc
+44 1723 518011

Tuesday 19 September 2017 / file under Construction | Engineering | Machinery | Safety | Shipbuilding | Transportation