Construction sites can be very noisy places and construction workers may see their hearing deteriorate over time if they do not protect themselves.
There are a lot of equipment, machinery and work processes that generate a high level of noise on construction sites. The main sources of noise include pneumatic tools (such as concrete breakers), impulsive tools (like demolition hammers, cartridge tools) and internal combustion engines (like compressors and generators).
Construction workers may also be exposed to high levels of background noise from other work on site that they may not be directly involved in.
Construction workers can recognise the symptoms of hearing damage by paying attention to sounds appearing muffled, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and with prolonged exposure, total deafness can occur. Noise can also interfere with communication and make warnings harder to hear which have their own hazards.
In order to reduce noise, consider first implementing a purchasing policy. Check the noise data of each tool and piece of machinery purchased. New tools were obtained based on the lowness of their noise level.
Health and Safety Executive developments, including low-noise designs and more effective ways to use tools should also be examined.
Tools should be regularly and appropriately maintained. Workers should check pneumatic silencers, anti-vibration mounts, tool sharpness, lubrication, and the condition of hearing protection. Well maintained tools operate more efficiently and produce significantly less noise.
Workers should be trained on tools and equipment and how to minimise noise. They should also be provided with and trained on the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) once a noise hazard has been identified and assessed.