The risks of noise

02 March 2016

Coinciding with this week’s World Hearing Day (3 March) is “Listen Up!”, an event billed as the first European hearing conservation conference, aiming to share ideas and drive change for the better in workplaces.

Aside from the health risks of induced hearing damage due to exposure over time, or through a sudden, extreme event, noise at work can interfere with communications and make warnings harder to hear. It can also reduce people’s awareness of their surroundings. These issues can lead to safety risks – putting people at risk of injury or death.

European Directives require basic laws across the European Union on protecting workers from the risks caused by noise. There are many ways of reducing noise and noise exposure. What actions to be taken are dependent on the level of risk. Actions can include consideration of alternative processes, equipment and/or working methods, and keeping up with what is good practice or the standard for noise-control within the relevant industry.

EEMUA is aware of the need to control noise within and around industrial installations for a variety of reasons, including meeting health and safety work area noise limits and environmental noise criteria for community noise. It has a suite of guidance documents aimed specifically at this aspect of industrial asset management: EEMUA Publication 140, defines the latest procedures for controlling noise in plant and equipment in accordance with international standards; EEMUA Publication 141 is a guide to facilitate the use of EEMUA 140; and EEMUA Publication 161 is a guide to the selection of silencers which are appropriate for use with various noise sources.

The Publications can be bought individually or as a bundle –‘Control of noise in equipment and plant– through the EEMUA online Shop.  

The work of EEMUA’s Machinery Committee (MAC) allows EEMUA to establish a common stance in relations with manufacturers, national, and international standards making bodies, with regard to multiple aspects of rotating machinery. The Committee provides the technical oversight for numerous EEMUA documents on related topics, including noise.