Working with sound?

Working with sound?

Excessive noise in the workplace can damage hearing. When employees are exposed to high noise levels, it can lead to hearing loss, which is often irreversible is.

In addition to the risk of hearing damage, a noisy environment can also stress, fatigue, and impaired concentration cause, which can affect overall work efficiency.

It is therefore essential for organisations to take appropriate measures to control and reduce workplace noise levels to ensure the well-being and productivity of their employees.

This could include implementing noise-reducing technologies, providing hearing protection, and developing awareness programmes on the risks of noise in the workplace.

What does the law say?

Workers are at risk of hearing damage when exposed to noise levels that are higher than 80 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to the noise of heavy city traffic. According to health and safety legislation in the Netherlands, action must be taken to reduce noise exposure from this level.

A significant proportion of Dutch workers, about 10%, is exposed to harmful noise in their workplace. Sectors where this risk is particularly high include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and entertainment industry.

For prolonged exposure to noise above 80 decibels can cause hearing damage.

The risk becomes significantly higher at levels above 85 decibels, with employers required by law are to offer hearing protection and take measures to reduce exposure.

This can include organising the workplace in a way that employees have less exposure to noise, using quieter machinery, and providing personal protective equipment such as earplugs or ear muffs.

It is important that employers are aware of workplace noise levels and actively work to control and reduce them to protect the health and safety of their employees.


Understanding causes of noise

This table shows how noise levels are linked to different environments or activities and illustrates the point at which noise can become potentially harmful to hearing. Exposure to noise levels of 80 dB or higher can be harmful in the long term, and it is important to wear appropriate hearing protection in such situations:

decibel (dB) Cause of Noise
< 80 dB Normal conversation, office environment
80-85 dB Heavy city traffic, alarm bells
85-90 dB Heavy traffic, factory hall, power tools
90-100 dB Construction site, metro, motorbike
100-120 dB Rock concert, short-range siren, chainsaw
> 120 dB Aircraft engine at close range, fireworks



Take the following steps

As an employer, you play a crucial role in protecting the health and safety of your employees, especially when it comes to the risk of hearing damage from noise exposure in the workplace. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Enter a risk assessment out to identify workplace noise levels and which employees are at risk.
  2. Where possible. Pass technical or organisational measures to reduce the source of noise. This may include, for example, using quieter machinery or isolating noise-producing equipment.
  3. Personal protective equipment (PPE): For situations where noise levels cannot be sufficiently reduced, provide employees with suitable hearing protection.
  4. Offer employees information and training on the risks of noise exposure and the proper use of hearing protection.
  5. Keep monitoring noise levels and employee health, including offering hearing tests.


Need help? Call in an expert

Consider collaborating with specialised companies such as Ronell, offering a complete service around hearing protection. Ronell has local hearing consultants in every province of the Netherlands, allowing them to offer a wide range of services specifically tailored to the needs of your employees and the specific conditions at your workplace.

The offering includes customised production of Hearing protection, personal delivery, support for wearing surface and use of tools, offering leak testing and providing training.

These services ensure that hearing protection is not only effective, but also comfortable and user-friendly, which is essential for employee acceptance and compliance.

By following these steps and working with specialised partners such as Ronell, you can create a safe and healthy working environment that significantly reduces the risk of hearing damage.

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