HSE report highlights problems with noise measurement standards

11 May 2018

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)visit website


The HSE has published a Research Report A critical review of the standard methods used to determine emission sound pressure level, peak sound pressure level and sound power level as required by Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (reference RR1116).

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, which is the UK implementation of the European Machinery Directive, require manufacturers to provide information so that their machinery can be used by workers in industry without risk from noise. This information includes numerical values for:

  • emission sound pressure level
  • peak sound pressure level
  • sound power level

All three values should help identify low-noise models when buying new machinery, while the emission sound pressure level and peak sound pressure level should alert employers of potential noise hazards for workers.

Shortcomings in standards

Researchers investigated a small sample of European harmonised standards used by manufacturers to determine noise emission values. It was concluded that noise data for the same type of machinery, measured using these standards, may not be comparable - for example, because poorly defined test methods require interpretation by the tester. Noise emission values determined using an appropriate harmonised standard may also not be representative of the operator's noise hazard during the intended uses of the machine.

The report shows that many European harmonised standards need modifying if they are to produce reliable and comparable noise emission data. Where noise data do not adequately represent the noise hazard of machinery during its intended uses, manufacturers must supply additional information making clear the residual noise risks.

Follow the link to find out more and to download a copy of Research Report RR1116.

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