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Noise in construction

Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage.

Damage can involve loss of hearing ability and people may also suffer a permanent sensation of noises or ringing in the ears, known as ´tinnitus´.

Hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work continues to be a significant occupational disease. Recent research estimates that 170,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work.

Factors that contribute to hearing damage are:

  • noise levels [given in decibel units dB(A)]
  • how long people are exposed to the noise, daily and over a number of years

Action levels are values of ´daily personal exposure to noise (LEP,d)´ which depend on working area noise levels and exposure times. The first action level is 85 dB(A),LEP,d and the second action level is 90 dB(A),LEP,d. Some common levels for concrete activities are given below.

Chipping/drilling 85+
Floor finishing 85
Concrete worker 89

Information can be obtained from Health and Safety Executive.


Acknowledgement: Health and Safety Executive

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