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How Hazardous Noise Can Affect Your Safety – White Card Online

Construction workers are exposed to a large number of hazards on site everyday, and one of the biggest preventative methods to noise hazards is awareness. To be completely aware of what’s going on around them, workers need to keep themselves safe by being able to hear what’s going on around them.

Hazardous noise on a work site can cause permanent damage to a person’s hearing and can destroy their ability to hear clearly, therefore putting them at risk of other hazards by making it more difficult to hear important sounds such as warning signals or instructions.

A construction site can be especially noisy, so it is vital that the risks associated with noise are managed. There are many situations on a construction site where a worker’s inability to hear adequately can place them at risk of injury or death.

Why manage noise? Managing noise is important for several reasons.

  • Managing noise helps protect workers from hearing loss and tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears or head.

  • It helps improve on-site communication and ensures workers are able to hear warning sounds.

  • Lower levels of noise can contribute to a less stressful, more productive working environment.

Considering these points, it’s very important that all workers, managers and site supervisors work to reduce the exposure of excessive noise.

Here are our suggestions to prevent risk of exposure to hazardous noise:

  • Use safety signs to indicate Hearing Protection Areas.

  • Be very careful to keep to the recommended exposure level of 85 decibels per 8-hour day over a 7day work week.

  • Remember that anything above peak noise level (140 decibels) can instantly damage hearing! Avoid this risk at ALL times!

The table below demonstrates the level of common worksite tools

ActivityDecibel Level (dB)Time to reach allowed daily excessNoise reduction needed (dBA)
Drilling Timber858 hours0
Angle Grinder9545 minutes10
Circular Saw1054.5 minutes20
Chainsaw11530 seconds30
Pneumatic Drill (Jack Hammer)12010 seconds35
Pile Hammer1253 seconds40

This table indicates the recommended allowable noise levels for various activities and power tools you may encounter on a construction site.

Angle Grinder: The allowable decibel level for drilling timber is 85 decibels for a maximum of eight hours. No noise reduction is required for safe, prolonged use.

Circular Saw: A circular saw may be used for four and a half minutes, as it operates on 105 decibels. Noise must be reduced by 20 dBA to operate for more than 4.5 minutes.

Chain Saw: A chainsaw operates at 115 decibels and can be used for a maximum of 30 seconds per day. Noise must be reduced by 30 dBA to use a chainsaw safely for more than 30 seconds.

Pneumatic Drill (Jack Hammer): A pneumatic drill (jack hammer) operates at 120 decibels. It can be used for a maximum of 10 seconds. Noise must be reduced by 35 dBA if a pneumatic drill is to be used for longer than 10 seconds.

Pile Hammer: A pile hammer operates at a decibel level of 125 and can therefore be used for only three seconds before noise must be reduced by 40 dBA.

By completing our White Card online training course, you will be educated and informed about safety including extensive informational on noise hazards.

Completing White Card online training is a legal requirement for those working in the construction industry. Holding a White Card demonstrates that you are well informed about construction site safety, hazard identification and worksite procedures.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLD, TAS, WAVIC, NT, SA.