Workplace Noise regulations are governed by NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation). As well as requirements for general risk and workplace management there are specific regulations relating to noise (Workplace Noise Regulations).
A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) at a workplace must manage risks to health and safety relating to hearing loss associated with noise. This includes ensuring that workers are not exposure to levels greater than the exposure standard [Clause 57].
The Workplace Noise Regulation requires exposure levels to be less than LAeq, 8hr of 85 dB(A) and LC,peak of 140 dB(C). These compliance noise levels require being determined in accordance with AS/NZS 1269.1:2005 Occupational noise management – Measurements and assessment of noise immission and exposure.
Audiometric testing is required by the Workplace Noise Regulation for those that are frequently required to use protectively personal protective equipment to protect the worker from the risk of hearing loss. This specific regulation associated with audiometric testing is due to potentially ineffective hearing protection, particularly in-ear hearing protection. This is to identify workers at risk and intervene to reduce the risk of irreversible hearing loss. The Workplace Noise Regulation requires audiometric testing to be conducted within 3 months of the working commencing the excessive noise related work and at intervals not exceeding two years.
The Workplace Noise Regulation also includes requirements for designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant and equipment. This includes ensuring that noise levels produced are as low as reasonably practicable. The regulation requires information about the noise levels to be provided to the workplace that it will be operating.