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

Related pages