Decibel Level of Big Ben – Noise at Work

Have you every considered the decibel level the bongs of Big Ben generate?

118 decibels – similar to a jet plane taking off.

You are probably questioning that wouldn’t affect  anyone at work or would it?

The authorities decided this was too much for engineers who maintain Big Ben and so it will fall silent whilst refurbishment work is carried out on the tower.

We don’t all have Big Ben or a jet plane in our work place but we could have equipment which noise levels could create risks to health.

As an employer at what decibel levels do we need to do anything.

The simple answer:

  • 80 decibels anyone affected must be advised and provided hearing protection.
  • 85 decibels anyone affected must wear hearing protection.

As with any hazard to health a risk assessment must be conducted. Where personal protective equipment must be the last resort.

We could all have equipment in the workplace and not realise the noise which is being generated. An example which I’ve previously resolved is a label printer.

Working from the manufacturers instruction manual the advised decibel rating would have been acceptable.

The issue came about once in use and vibrations when in use created noise above 85 decibel level.

By some simple sound proofing foam which reduced the vibration level the noise level then reduced below 80 decibels.

How can we easily identify if noise could be above 80 or 85 decibels?

A simple test if someone has to raise their voice from 2 metres/6 foot to be heard could indicate a noise problem exists.

When you next walk through around your workplace stop and listen does the noise level seem high, is the radio being turned up so employees can hear.

Do you have employees who show the signs of their hearing being affected, suffer from tinnitus?

If you have any concerns please contact us on 01933 812234