Loud noise at work can damage our hearing. This can occur progressively over a period of time, or immediately in instances of severely loud noise.

Clause 56 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 sets out a “safe level” of noise being noise not exceeding 85 decibels (dB) when averaged over an 8-hour period or over a peak of 140dB at any time during the day.

Daily exposure to noise levels higher than 85dB is capable of causing industrial deafness. It is also possible to suffer a hearing loss in a shorter period of time if the noise level exceeds 85dB. For every 3dB increase above 85dB, what is considered a safe daily exposure time halves.[1] A worker can therefore sustain a hearing loss if exposed to an hour of noise at 94dB, or to 15 minutes for noise at 100dB. At 130dB, hearing loss can occur in less than a second.

To demonstrate, a typical sound at 90dB is noise from a lawn mower. Noise from a chainsaw is at about 110dB whilst a jet engine at a distance of 30 metres is about 140dB.[2]

Typically, a general indication as to whether the noise is above the “safe level” is if you are unable to hold a normal conversation to someone standing a metre away and you have to raise your voice or shout in order to communicate. If you are provided with hearing protection by your employer, this is also a good indication that the work possibly poses a risk of causing deafness.

Get in touch with us

If you suspect you are suffering from a hearing loss or you have been exposed to loud noise in your employment, even if for a short period of time, contact Turner Freeman Lawyers for more information.

Many of our industrial deafness claims are funded by the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (“WIRO”) and in such circumstances, you will not be charged for us providing you with advice and pursuing a claim on your behalf.

[1] Work Health and Safety (Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work) Code of Practice 2015.

[2] Ibid.