Noise control

Noise control -alasivu

Where noise exposure exceeds the upper exposure action value, the employer must establish and implement a noise control programme. A noise control programme sets out the steps that the employer intends to take to reduce noise exposure and deadlines for the actions. The aim is to reduce noise exposure to below the upper action value. Employers must have a noise control programme in place for as long as even one of their employees is exposed to noise levels that exceed the upper action value. The programme must be reviewed whenever

  • exposure is reassessed
  • a worker is diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss, or
  • new ways to reduce noise exposure become available.

The noise control programme must cover all workers whose noise exposure exceeds the upper action value. The programme must identify

  • the sources of noise responsible for the greatest exposures per worker
  • the steps that the employer intends to take to reduce noise exposure, and
  • deadlines for the actions and, where appropriate, the individuals responsible for implementation.

Hearing protectors do not reduce noise exposure, which is why they are not covered by the employer’s noise control programme.

Noise reduction measures to be taken into account in the employer’s noise control programme

Noise exposure can only be reduced by lowering noise levels immediately next to a worker’s ear or by reducing the duration of exposure. The first step in preparing a noise control programme is to identify the most notable sources of noise from workers’ perspective, i.e. the processes, machinery, equipment, products and structures that generate noise in the workplace. The employer must then look into each source of noise separately and determine whether

  • the work can be performed in a less noisy way
  • the work can be performed using less noisy equipment
  • noise levels can be lowered by upgrading or servicing the equipment or by drawing up a maintenance programme for the equipment
  • noisy operations and workstations can be positioned so as to reduce the amount of noise that reaches workers’ ears
  • noise levels can be lowered by teaching workers how to use work equipment correctly and safely
  • the amount of noise that reaches workers’ ears can be reduced by
  • applying damping materials to vibrating surfaces or reducing the area of vibrating surfaces
  • preventing vibrations from travelling through the infrastructure to large surfaces
  • encasing the sources of noise or noisy components
  • erecting walls between sources of noise and the nearest workstations
  • building a soundproof control room for the operators of noisy machinery
  • adding acoustic insulation to the surfaces nearest to sources of noise or to the walls and the ceiling, or
  • noise cancellation
  • the work can be planned so that workers need to spend less time in noisy conditions or so that they can perform their work further away from sources of noise, or
  • the work can be planned so that workers are able to step away from the noisy area at times.

Any of the aforementioned measures that are feasible in practice and can be implemented without unreasonable costs considering the harmful effects of the exposure must be included in the noise control programme.

Deadlines for actions outlined in the employer’s noise control programme

Deadlines must be established for implementing the actions included in the noise control programme based on the employer’s noise risk assessment, and the actions must then be implemented by the deadlines.