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Please read this before using presentation. This presentation is based on content presented at the 2007 Mines Safety Roadshow held in October 2007

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Please read this before using presentation

  • This presentation is based on content presented at the 2007 Mines Safety Roadshow held in October 2007

  • It is made available for non-commercial use (eg toolbox meetings) subject to the condition that the PowerPoint file is not altered without permission from Resources Safety

  • Supporting resources, such as brochures and posters, are available from Resources Safety

  • For resources, information or clarification, please contact:

    [email protected]

    or visit

Toolbox presentation: Occupation noise in the WA mining industry

October 2007

Noise legislation

  • Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 — Section 9

  • Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 — Part 7 Division 1

  • Approved Procedures — Regulations 7.6 and 7.10


  • Apply to over 300 mines operating in WA

  • Cover more than 56,500 miners

  • Majority of miners work 12-hour shifts

  • Over 74% of miners are overexposed to noise

Basic rules of working with noise

  • The noise levels are described in decibels (dB)

  • They can not be added or subtracted in the usual arithmetic way because the dB scale is logarithmic

  • Two identical tools emitting noise of 90 dB(A) produce the combined noise level of 93 dB(A), not 180 dB(A)

Basic rules of working with noise cont.

  • A 3 dB(A) increase corresponds to a doubling of sound energy

  • A 10 dB(A) increase corresponds to a 10 times increase of the sound energy

  • A 20 dB(A) increase corresponds to a 100 times increase of the sound energy

Typical noise levels at operator’s ear level

Standard for occupational noise

  • For noise exposure — 85 dB(A) for 8 hours

  • For peak noise level — 140 dB(lin)

Average noise exposure in WA mining industry

Employee hearing loss by occupation group

Percentage of employees with hearing loss >5%

  • Surface mining19.2%

  • Metal trades18.6%

  • Processing plants16.0%

  • Underground mining15.5%

  • Management14.4%

  • Electrical trades10.6%

Relationship between noise exposureand hearing loss

Hearing loss between 5 and 9%

Employee hearing loss

Average threshold shifts

Steps aiming to control noise at work

  • Assess risks to develop a noise control plan

  • Reduce risks for all employees

  • Investigate and implement good practice for control of noise

  • Prioritise noise control measures

  • Use hearing protection for residual risks

  • Carry out a noise dosimetry program to check the effectiveness of noise control measures

Some simple noise control techniques

  • Application of damping material to chutes, hoppers, machine guards etc., can give a 5-25 dB reduction in the noise radiated

  • Cabin internal noise can be reduced by 10-12 dB by applying damping pads and sound barrier mats to floor and engine bulkhead

  • Reduce fan speed by 30% to achieve a noise reduction of 8 dB

Noise control can be complex

Engage employees in process

Use noise control consultants to help solve your problems if complex

Hearing protectors

  • Selected for protection, user preference and work activity

  • Guard against over-protection — isolation can lead to under-use and safety risks

  • Require information, instruction, training, supervision and motivation

  • Will only protect if worn all the time and properly

Rating hearing protectors

The sound level conversion (SLC80 )rating of a hearing protector, ear plugs or headset is a simple number and class rating that is derived from a test procedure as outlined in the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1270:2002

Class and specification of hearing protectors

Ear plugs

Properly fitted

Wrongly fitted

Ear muffs

Proper clamping force

Worn-out head band

Reduction in protection provided by hearing protectors with decreased wearing time

Example: Effectiveness of wearing an ear muff with a rating of 30 dB for an exposure time of one hour

Our challenge

Away from …

  • Noise assessment as the end point

  • Reliance on hearing protection

    Towards …

  • Control of noise risks through prioritised action plans

  • Introducing equipment with good noise and vibration characteristics – ‘Buy Quiet’

Use this guideline as a reference on recommended ways to control noise in mines

Noise posters available online or

as hardcopies (contact Resources Safety)

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