What You Should Know About Noise Survey
A noise survey is a process of taking noise measurements in a certain section or entire structure in order to narrow down to the noisy regions. This survey is used to establish if people are being exposed to occupation noise levels that go beyond the exposure limits established by either the company or the Control of Noise at Work Regulations. It’s imperative to note that the United Kingdom is not the only country that has set workplace standards in regards to noise levels and most nations work to ensure an employee working from 9 to 5 is not exposed to levels of noise exceeding 85 decibels.
Why Is It Important to Conduct a Noise Survey?
Noise surveys provide vital information that helps a safety professional identify the following:
- Sections where people are likely to be exposed to concerning noise levels.
- Equipment and machinery that generates harmful levels of noise
- Workers who might be exposed to harmful levels of noise
A noise survey is done in an environment where sound is likely to be harmful. Examples include a workshop or assembly line. In most cases, the survey will entail measuring the noise level using a sound level meter. The readings are taken at an array of positions around the noisy region.
Next, a noise map is created by making lines on a sketch between points that have matching sound levels. These maps offer helpful data by clearly identifying sections that have harmful noise levels.
What is Involved in a Noise Survey?
Noise levels are usually measured using a sound level meter that takes Sound Pressure Levels in decibels and the highest level of noise achieved, or the sound pressure in Pascal. If you are looking for a vibration survey just type your location along with vibration survey on Google. For example, if you are in the London area then type something like ‘London vibration survey‘.
You will come across two types of sound meters; the direct and integrated reading meters. The latter provide an average over a certain time period, an essential technique with vast variations in regards to sound levels. This value is referred to as continuous equivalent noise level (Leq), which is usually measured or rather normalised over a period of 8 hours.
The sound level meter or any noise measuring equipment needs to be calibrated before as well as after a measuring session. To take measurements, you hold the sound level meter at arm’s length at the ear height for individuals exposed to the noise.
When determining the risk of loss of hearing, you should position the microphone as close as possible to the operative or employee’s ear. For a stationary employee, you should hold the microphone as near as possible or above the shoulder. If they work in a standing position, then you should hold the microphone about 1.5 metres above the floor. Lastly, for an employee who spends most of their time sitting, you should position the microphone one metre above the floor.
If you are looking at workplaces with variable, intermittent or impulse noise levels, and also in situations where the employee’s movements can’t be accompanied or followed, the sound level meter isn’t designed to determine if the individual’s average exposure to noise throughout or during part of their shift. This is an important thing to keep in mind when it comes to assessing noise levels in a working environment.
Reducing disturbance and the risk of hearing loss is vital, and that’s why it’s imperative to conduct a professional noise survey.