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Home ยป When do you need to do a noise assessment?

When do you need to do a noise assessment?

It’s a fascinating question – what do you know that you must conduct an assessment of noise without actually performing an actual noise assessment?

A noise assessment should be completed by any employer that has noise levels in excess of 80dB(A)

It is recommended to conduct a complete sound assessment when there is a belief that noise levels will be between 78 and 79 dB(A) because of the natural variations that occur each day.

The part that is regulated is that a risk assessment is required when an employer performs work that could cause employees exposure to sound levels that are over a lower exposure value’. In English it means that the possibility exists that employees are working at noisy environments with a noise level of around eighty dB(A) or higher, then the regulation 5(1) requires an assessment of noise to be completed.

L108 provides some guidelines (not legal) that states that ‘if uncertain it is better to assume that a noise assessment is required’.
Industries in which noise assessment is required

It can be applied to almost all industries that have any type of manufacturing or production process, however there are also specific ones in which noise may not be initially appear essential to the job.

Production of food




Maintenance of grounds

The education offered by woodworking classes, for instance, music classes

Emergency services


Building ships

Extrusions made of plastic


The test of conversation – can you comprehend normal speech?

Most likely, this is how the HSE will decide whether they will look into your noise assessment when they enter an office and are distracting while talking with other people, that’s an indication that the noise levels are at or near eighty dB(A) and they’ll seek to view an assessment.

Information from other sources regarding the levels of noise

Any data on noise provided by the maker of the equipment or tool which is employed.

If anyone on your site is using the Apple Watch then the built-in noise meter feature is quite precise. We’ve tried it out ourselves and found it to remain within 1.5 to 2 decibels of the actual amount. So, suppose that an Apple Watch is saying 78dB and it is in fact nudging 80dB. A noise analysis is required.

A less expensive Type 3 noise meter can be very helpful for this purpose, as it can give it gives a quick and easy indication of whether the noise is getting quite loud.

Apps for phones

We’d recommend being cautious with these. We’ve tried a lot of them and when paired with a Class 1 noise meter, these phones can be far from the target. A few of the top ones have the ability to calibrate however, you’ll need to perform a calibration and even then, they could be quite difficult to calibrate.

Consider this advice if you decide that you don’t require an assessment of the noise

The most important thing to note is that if you go through this process and conclude that a noise study is not necessary, note down the decision-making process, including who was involved, the method used, how the process was carried out and the date it was completed. This way, when you get the HSE call, you are able to claim ‘yes my Lord Benevolent of Safety we’ve checked to determine if we were required to conduct an assessment of noise and here’s the way and when we conducted it’. If you claim that you have did a check but you don’t have evidence to prove it then they’ll see a steely look in their eyes and unleash their fury on you because you are unable to demonstrate that you had done the test and to them , you’ve most likely just neglected the issue.

Keep in mind that if there’s no evidence or proof of an action, it’s not happening. It’s always better do the right thing, and achieved an outcome that they don’t agree with than be considered not tried in the first place.