Noise, which is a feature of every workplace, has the potential to cause ill-health to persons who are exposed to constant and/or loud levels of noise.  The higher the noise level, and the longer employees are exposed to it, the greater the associated risk.

The following sections will take you through a number of areas from occupational exposure limit values (OELVs) to the control of noise hazards.


Noise in workplaces is regulated by a number of acts and regulations, the most significant of those being:

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, Part 5, Chapter 1: Control of Noise at Work

Employer Responsibilities

If there is reason to believe that the lower exposure level of 80 dB(A) may be reached or exceeded you need to:

  • Identify noise hazards, assess the risks
  • Put the necessary controls and preventative measures in place
  • Provide information and training regarding the risks from exposure to noise
  • Provide employees with the appropriate type of hearing protection (ear-plugs, ear defenders, etc.)
  • Communicate with employees that they are entitled to have preventative audiometric testing

If noise levels reach or exceed 85 dB (A) a hearing check must be made available to the relevant employees

Organisational and/ or technical measures must be put in place to reduce the noise levels below 85 dB (A) and ideally below 80 dB (A)

If noise levels of 87 dB (A) immediate action must be taken to ensure this level of noise exposure is reduced

Employee Responsibilities

Employees also have duties, you need to:

  • Co-operate with your employers health and safety rules and procedures
  • Use the control measures your employer have provided to eliminate or reduce your risk of exposure to dangerous noise levels
  • Report any defects in your personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Report any accidents or incidents to your employer immediately

Do not engage in any unsafe behaviour that may put yourself or others at risk!

Page updated: 12/05/2015

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