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Noise Health and Safety


Noise is an issue which has been a nuisance and danger to people's health and safety for as long as people have been on the earth, with many natural events such as volcanic eruptions being loud enough to damage the hearing of anyone who happens to be too close. These natural risks would only have been a danger to a small percentage of the earth's population though, and for anyone that close to a volcanic eruption the effect on their hearing would probably be the least of their worries. Although people could still cause hearing damage by performing actions such as shouting too close to a person's ear, and this is obviously still the case today, the majority of risks to people's hearing have been created since the invention of machinery and other man-made concoctions like dynamite.

Machinery Noise

Different machines can create loud noise in a variety of different ways. Examples include:

  • Impact noise as a part strikes a hard object such as concrete. Particular examples are drills and compactors.
  • Noise from exhausts or vents, especially high-pitched whistles such as hot steam exiting a small opening.
  • Noise from rotating parts like those in an engine as the machine operates.
  • Although obviously undesirable, machines can malfunction or be misused which can lead to certain consequences like catching fire and, more damaging as far as hearing is concerned, potentially exploding. This is where appropriate health and safety training courses are required to provide suitable knowledge regarding working safely to minimise the potential for accidents, including explosions.

People's Happiness and Wellbeing

Noise is not just something which affects a person's health and safety; it also has an impact upon their general happiness as well as the environment in terms of creatures in the surrounding area.

Even when noise isn't a risk to their health and safety, people will still be unhappy about noise when it is a nuisance factor, particularly when it affects them in their home which should be a place for them to relax. Groups most affected include those living near:

  • Airports and beneath approach/departure flight paths
  • Busy roads
  • Railway lines
  • Quarries
  • Heavy industry and factories
  • Race tracks

In fact, the list is potentially endless and really incorporates any place where noise is produced which is loud enough to cause a disturbance. The closer a person is situated to the source of the noise, the more it will affect them in terms of its disruption.

Environmental Effects

Aside from being a danger and a disturbance for people, noise issues can have a significant detrimental impact upon local wildlife. Noise can disturb birds and animals trying to rest, as well as increasing anxiety levels when random loud noises occur. Once overlooked, the impact of noise upon creatures is now given far more consideration.

Environmental legislation, greater awareness and the launch of new environmental education and training courses like the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate have made businesses and individuals alike put measures in place to reduce their impact upon the environment, both in terms of noise pollution and other factors which can cause damage to the local and global ecosystem.

Noise Assessments

Noise assessments are an important component of the overall risk assessment process which company management needs to conduct at regular intervals to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their employees, nearby members of the public and the local environment. By thoroughly assessing the current and potential impact which their operations may have in terms of noise creation, remedial and preventative measures can be put into place before damage is done to any person or any creature. These assessments are necessary in many countries in order to comply with applicable noise environmental policies, regulations and legislation which may be in force.

Related Noise Pages:

Related Course

Please see below for more information on the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate:

NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate, or NEBOSH National Certificate in Environmental Management to give it its full title, is an environmental health and safety course which is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who are responsible for managing environmental issues at their workplace.

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate qualification focuses on UK law, so is really only suitable for those who are based and operate within the UK.

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