Compliance code: Noise - Key changes

A guide to explain recent updates to the noise compliance code.


Key changes for 2019/20

The Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy, approved minor amendments to 11 compliance codes made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act), which includes the Noise compliance code.

The minor amendments were made to:

  • reflect amendments to section 35 and 36 of the OHS Act by the Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Act 2018
  • improve style and branding consistency across the existing codes.

Change summary

Paragraph 32

Insert additional content (bold italics) and replace OHS Act reference to s36 with reference to s35:

"Employers who are required to consult on a matter must share information about the matter with employees, including relevant contractors and HSRs, give them a reasonable opportunity to express their views, and take those views into account before making a decision. If employees are represented by an HSR, the consultation must involve that HSR (with or without the involvement of the employees directly). If the employer and the employees have agreed to procedures for undertaking consultation, the consultation must be undertaken in accordance with those procedures. OHS Act s35".

Paragraph 30

Replace "health and safety" with "health or safety".

Front cover

Update front cover to 'Edition 2'.

Back cover

Update back cover with new head office phone and address and translation service contact details.

Key changes for 2018/19

The Noise compliance code, 2018 came into effect on 15 March 2018. It is a new code.

Prior to the code, the primary source of guidance regarding workplace noise was the non-statutory WorkSafe Guide for assessing and fixing noise problems at work, 2005 (the noise handbook). The code was developed to replace the noise handbook.

The new code is designed to:

  • be easy to read and use
  • align with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations)
  • reflect modern work practices and state of knowledge
  • align with other updated compliance codes.

Reference and style

The new code includes:

  • references to relevant legislation when legal duties apply
  • cross-references to make related information easier to find in the code
  • information about Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) duties as well as OHS Regulations duties.

How to use this guide

As this is a new code, a comparison with an old code isn't possible. Instead the key features of the new code have been outlined and listed in a table for ease of reference.

About the code

Key features

  • The Noise code provides general guidance on how exposure to workplace noise can cause hearing loss.
  • The code draws content from the noise handbook, the Safe Work Australia Model Code of Practice managing noise and preventing hearing loss, September 2015 and the WorkSafe Noise Code of Practice No.17, 1992.

The code includes information on who has duties to manage risks associated with workplace noise exposure and details what the duties are for duty holders including:

  • employers
  • employees
  • self-employed persons
  • designers
  • manufacturers
  • suppliers and installers of plant
  • designers of structures and buildings in relation to noise

The code may also be useful for health and safety representatives.

Additional areas of focus within the code include:

  • identifying hazards
  • determining exposure to noise
  • risk control
  • audiometric testing
  • audiological examinations
  • record keeping

The code contains appendices that provide helpful information including:

  • the compliance framework
  • a noise hazard identification checklist
  • a ready reckoner
  • a guide for selecting quieter equipment

Structure of new code

The new code follows the new layout applied to the updated compliance codes.

Compliance code 2018


Part 1 – Introduction

  • purpose
  • scope
  • application
  • background
  • how does noise damage hearing?
  • how can noise induced hearing loss affect someone?
  • can noise induced hearing loss be cured?
  • what other effects are caused by excessive noise?
  • who has duties?
  • the risk management process
  • consultation
  • information, instruction, training and supervision

Part 2 – Duties of designers, manufacturers, suppliers and installers of plant

  • designers of plant
  • designers of buildings and structures
  • sound insulating separate rooms
  • manufacturers of plant
  • suppliers of plant
  • installers of plant

Part 3 – Duties of employers

Part 3.1 – Hazard identification – exposure standard

  • noise exposure standard
  • how long can people be exposed to noise before the exposure standard is exceeded?

Part 3.2 – Determining exposure to noise

  • when is a noise determination required?
  • who can perform a noise determination?
  • how should a noise determination be done?
  • extended work shifts
  • representative determinations
  • spot noise measurements
  • noise contour maps
  • record of determination

Part 3.3 – Risk control

  • eliminating the source of the noise
  • reducing exposure to noise
  • substituting quieter plant or processes
  • engineering controls
  • written record of control
  • maintenance of plant and equipment
  • administrative controls
  • provision of hearing protectors
  • selecting hearing protectors
  • maintenance of hearing protectors
  • hearing protector signs and labels
  • maintaining risk controls
  • review and revision of risk controls

Part 3.4 – Audiometric testing and audiological examinations

  • audiometric testing
  • conducting audiometric testing
  • audiological examinations
  • record keeping

Appendix A – The compliance framework

Appendix B – Noise hazard identification checklist

Appendix C – Ready reckoner

Appendix D – 'Select Quiet' guide for selecting quieter equipment

Appendix E – Engineering control measures

Appendix F – Further information – standards referenced

Appendix G – Checklist – Noise determination report

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options

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