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You can significantly decrease the risk of noise injury in your workplace by following the order of the control measures specified in the Regulations. The list is set out with the most effective approaches first. Only use a less effective approach if it is not reasonably practicable to use a more effective one. In many instances, a combination of approaches will result in the best solution.

1. Eliminate the cause of the noise

The most effective measure is to remove the source of the noise, so you should always try to do this first.

Example: Get rid of noisy plant

2. Substitute quieter plant or processes, or use engineering measures.

If the source of the noise can't be eliminated, consider using quieter equipment or processes, or engineering controls.

Example: Purchase quieter equipment (e.g. quiet compressor) or use a quieter process (e.g. welding instead of riveting in large scale construction).
Introduce engineering controls to:
  • avoid metal-on-metal impacts
  • reduce vibration
  • isolate vibrating machinery
  • silence air exhausts and blowing nozzles.

Example:

  • erect enclosures around machines to reduce the amount of noise emitted into the workplace or environment
  • use barriers and screens to block the direct path of sound.
  • use absorptive materials to minimise noise reflection within the building.

3. Use administrative controls

If you can't change the equipment or processes, try to change the way the work is done.

Example: Position noise sources further away from employees, minimise the number of employees working in noisy areas or do noisy work out of normal working hours. Job rotation can also help to limit employees' exposure to noise.

4. Provide hearing protectors

If the above measures do not totally solve the problem, and they have been applied as far as practicable, then hearing protectors must be used to ensure that employees' exposure to noise does not exceed the standard.

See the Guide for Assessing and Fixing Noise problems at work for more information.