Are you considering buying a sound level meter to carry out your own noise measurements at work? Are you struggling to decide which will be right for you? We have put a few points together for you to consider first when choosing your sound level meter.
Sound level meters can vary tremendously in terms of efficiency, accuracy and cost. There are companies that will sell low cost meters that offer ‘quick fix’ solutions. As often is the case with such meters, they do not always provide accurate readings. Accuracy must be a top priority if you are to provide your staff with the correct hearing protection and be compliant with occupational Regulations. Failure to do this could lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) which may leave your company open to costly claims. At the other end of the spectrum, you could end up spending more money than necessary by opting for the wrong type of meter for your application.
When it comes to choosing a new sound level meter, you may not realise that such a meter needs to be classified. As a result, you may opt for non-classified meters or ones that are neither Class 1 nor Class 2, leaving you vulnerable to potential claims.
Put simply, the class of a sound level meter represents its frequency range and levels of tolerance. As a manufacturer, we abide by certain standards such as IEC 61672-1: 2002 which define the performance criteria to be met by our noise measurement instruments including levels of tolerance. If you are interested in finding out more about standards relevant to sound level meters, read Part 2 and Part 3 of IEC 61672.
In the UK, under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), a Class 2 sound level meter is considered to be sufficient for measuring general noise within an occupational setting.
A Class 1 sound level meter meets a higher performance specification than a Class 2 meter and will typically measure a wider frequency range of noise. A Class 1 meter can be used for example in law enforcement, research and environmental applications. So, do not give in to panic and buy a Class 1 sound level meter or you will end up spending more money than necessary. Remember, for Noise at Work measurement, a Class 2 sound level meter is perfectly acceptable.
Buy from an established manufacturer
Buy from a trustworthy and long-standing manufacturer. It will give you the reassurance that your sound level meter will not only withstand the test of time but will be compliant with the criteria that you require. Choose a manufacturer also that offers face-to-face or telephone support, product training and after sales services.
Don’t buy cheap: it may cost you in the long run
It might be tempting to spend a few pounds on a meter or downloading an app onto your iPhone that claims to measure sound. Less expensive noise monitoring devices are unlikely to have undergone the testing that is required by the legislation. Consequently, these models are likely to measure noise levels less accurately than a device that might cost more but has been designed and undergone stringent tests by a reputable manufacturer.
It is worth noting that an inaccurate reading of as little as 3 decibels can expose workers up to four times the legal levels of noise. For example, a worker exposed over many years to a level of 86dB(A) for 8 hours has four times the risk of suffering noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) as someone working at 80dB(A).
Which sound level meter is right for you?
We have put together a summary document listing external applications, accuracy, function, range, hearing protection selection methods and options available for each of our noise measurement products. This is a great and easy way to enable you to make an informed choice about the right sound level meter for your application.
To access it, simply click on the following link: Pulsar Product Cross reference Document
This blog appeared first on Pulsar Instruments’ website on 06/05/2015.
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