Noise monitoring for Building Sites and Construction Noise Levels23rd May 2013
Noise monitoring for Building sites
All construction sites are likely to produce noise which cannot be completely prevented. This noise, however, can be a danger to construction workers and a nuisance to people who live in the vicinity. Control methods exist to minimise noise exposure levels and prevent loss of hearing to workers on building sites.
Work patterns in the construction industry vary greatly and can last from days to years depending on the project. As such, a noise monitoring solution that can measure noise on a short-term or a long term basis is often obligatory in this type of environment and industry.
Construction noise combines both the type of long-term noise exposure that falls under the category of Noise at Work and, also, environmental noise issues which can cause a nuisance from a distance, such as construction or demolition work taking place close to private housing.
Construction Noise Levels
Employees working on a construction site often need to make quick decisions on a daily basis. The nature of their jobs may require them to move from one location to another, use moving or mobile machinery and operate in difficult to reach areas. Therefore the availability of a noise measurement device that is rugged, easy to use and portable may be the answer to checking on their noise exposure, especially in multi-site scenarios.
Regular noise ‘spot checks' using a sound level meter at different locations on a construction site help to determine quickly if there is a possibility of a problem by showing a reading in decibels. Some noise meters can be mounted on a tripod at a boundary position and left to measure noise over a specific period of time or over a number of ‘fixed duration' measurements.
There are also a number of instruments that can help identify whether workers are potentially at risk from excessive noise and determine whether hearing protection is needed. It is worth noting that, for safety reasons, it is not always advisable for workers on sites to wear hearing protection continuously as alarm systems or warnings for example could be missed.
Other tools to carry out professional noise surveys on sites and measure personal noise exposure can be used. These are better known as PSEM or Personal Sound Exposure meters. These are tiny units that can be mounted on the worker's body such as the shoulder and monitor the hearing second by second over a working shift. The data is stored internally and can be simply read at the end of each shift or transferred to a PC to both provide a record and allow the company to do an analysis of the noise. Used with a range of precision integrating sound level meters, they can enable a safety professional to investigate the noise, including the selection of appropriate hearing protection.