Noise & Its Occupational Exposure Limits

Noise & Its Occupational Exposure Limits

Here is some information about noise in the workplace, with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).


What legislation is available to protect workers from noise exposure?

In Ireland, the Regulations are the General Application Regulations 2007, Chapter 1 of Part 5: Control Of Noise at Work.

And in the UK, it is the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

What are the risks for employees exposed to high levels of noise?

If exposed to high noise levels over long periods of time, permanent loss of hearing can occur.  High noise levels can also interfere with communications in the workplace, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

How is the noise level measured?

This is measured in units known as decibels dB (A). However as a rough guide, if it is difficult to hear a normal conversation at a distance of 2m from the person speaking, it is likely that the noise levels in the area are above the levels permitted under these regulations (i.e. over 80dB (A)).

What action should be taken when the noise exposure level is too high?

When the level is above 85dB (A) the employer must:

  • Identify the reasons for the excess noise and put in place a programme to reduce it.
  • Provide the services of a registered medical practitioner to carry out hearing checks and audiometric testing.

What type of PPE should be used?

  • Earplugs and similar devices.
  • Full acoustic helmets.
  • Earmuffs which can be fitted to industrial helmets.
  • Ear defenders with receiver for LF induction loop.
  • Ear protection with intercom equipment.

For more answers to FAQ and guidance for Noise in the workplace, please click on the following link: HSA Noise FAQ