SC18 - Appendix 3
06 Dec 2010



Controlling noise




​Wherever there is noise at work, alternative equipment, processes or working methods should be investigated in order to make the work quieter or exposure time to individuals shorter.

Using the risk assessment

Where the risk assessment shows that employees will be exposed at or above the Upper Exposure Action Value, a noise control plan must be established and implemented by the management responsible for the activity/area. Based upon advice from a Competent Noise Assessor the plan should establish a prioritised timetable setting out what needs to be remedied immediately and what is possible to remedy over a longer period of time.

Noise reduction methods

If the loud noise cannot be removed altogether, other options must be looked at. The following methods should be considered:

1. Eliminating the noise at source, for example:
  • Carrying out the work in a different, quieter, way
  • Replacing machinery with a less noisy alternatives and
  • By introducing low-noise purchasing policies for equipment
2. Reducing the noise at source through engineering controls, for example:
  • Avoiding metal on metal impacts
  • Reducing vibration of panels by adding material
  • Isolating vibrating machinery from its surroundings with flexible couplings or anti-vibration mountings
  • Fitting silencers to air exhaust nozzles and vents and
  • Regularly maintaining machinery e.g. lubrication and adjustments
3. Modifying noise paths, for example:
  • Erect enclosures around machinery to reduce the amount of noise emitted or reflected into the workplace
  • Use screens to block the direct path of the sound, installing an-echoic surfaces
  • Re-align machines to change the path of the sound and
  • Position sources of noise further away from the work
4. Workplace design and layout for low noise emission, for example:
  • Use absorptive materials e.g. open cell foam or mineral wool, to reduce reflected sound
  • Place noisy equipment in a separate room away from the work area and
  • Ensure noisy areas are not used as regular workplaces
5. Limiting the time spent/exposure of staff to noise, for example:
  • Taking regular breaks from the noisy area
  • Staff rotation work methods and
  • Ensuring only people who need to be in the noisy area are there and do not stay longer than they need to
Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,CSD)