The University has a primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks due to noise including:
- ensuring that the noise a worker is exposed to at the workplace does not exceed the exposure standard for noise;
- providing audiometric testing to a worker who is frequently required to use personal hearing protectors to protect the worker from hearing loss associated with noise that exceeds the exposure standard.
Exposure standard for noise
WHS Regulations define exposure standard for noise as LAeq,8h of 85 dB(A) or an LC,peak of 140dB(C).
- LAeq,8h means the eight hour equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure in decibels, referenced to 20 micropascals. This is related to the total amount of noise energy a person is exposed to in the course of their working day. It takes into account both the noise level and the length of time the person is exposed to it. An unacceptable risk of hearing loss occurs at LAeq,8h values above 85dB(A).
- Lc,peak means the C-weighted peak sound pressure level in decibels, referenced to 20 micropascals. It usually relates to loud, sudden noises such as hammering or gunshot. Lc,peak values above 140dB(C) can cause immediate damage to hearing.
What is required to manage the risks of hearing loss?
Supervisors and Managers must manage, in consultation with workers who are likely to be affected by noise issues, the risks of hearing loss associated with noise by:
- identifying sources of noise that may contribute to hearing loss;
- assessing the risks associated with these hazards;
- implementing risk control measures;
- reviewing risk control measures.
The Code of Practice Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work is a practical guide for achieving the standards of health and safety required under WHS legislation. In most cases, following the Code of Practice will achieve compliance with the health and safety duties of WHS legislation. However compliance may also be achieved by following other methods, such as technical or industry standards, provided these provide an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the Code.