It’s an interesting question: how do you determine if you have to conduct an assessment of the noise level without actually performing an actual noise assessment?

A noise assessment should be completed by any company that has noise levels in excess of 80dB(A)

It is recommended to conduct a thorough noise test if the you believe that the noise level is likely to be between 78 and 79 dB(A) because of the natural variations that occur each day.

The regulation aspect of this is that a risk assessment is required when an employer performs work that could cause employees exposure to sound levels that are over a lower exposure value’. In English this means that the possibility exists that employees are working at noisy environments with a noise level of around the level of dB(A) or more , the regulation 5(1) requires an assessment of noise to be completed.

The L108 law provides guidance (not legal) that says ‘if you’re uncertain it is better to presume that a noise assessment is required’.
Industries in which noise assessment is required

This could be applicable to virtually every industry that has any type of manufacturing or production process, but there are more specific ones in which noise may not be initially appear essential to the job.

Production of food




Maintenance of the grounds

Woodworking, for example, or music classes

Emergency services


Building ships

Extrusions made of plastic


The test of conversation – can you comprehend normal speech?

Most likely, this is how the HSE will decide whether they will look into your noise assessment If they visit an office and are disruptive while conversing with others, then it is an indication that the level is at or near the level of 80 dB(A) and they’ll request to see an assessment.

Additional sources for information about the levels of noise

Any data on noise provided by the maker of the equipment or tool which is employed.

If anyone on your site owns the Apple Watch then the built-in noise meter feature is quite precise. We’ve tested it for ourselves and have found it to stay within 1.5 to 2 decibels of the actual amount. So, suppose that if the Apple Watch is saying 78dB and it is pushing 80dB, and a noise analysis is required.

A low-cost Type 3 noise meter can prove to be an invaluable tool for this purpose, as it can give it gives a quick and easy indication of whether the noise is getting quite loud.

Apps for phones

We recommend caution when using these. We’ve tested a variety of them and when paired together with a class 1 noise meter, the apps for phones are often an abysmal threshold. A few of the top apps allow calibration however, you’ll need to perform a calibration and even then, they could be quite difficult to calibrate.

If you are unsure, consult us if you don’t require an assessment of the noise

One thing to remember is that if you go through this process and conclude that a noise test is not required, then record the process of making a decision, including the people involved, how the process was carried out and the date it was completed. This way, when you get the HSE call, you are able to claim ‘yes my Lord Benevolent of Safety We have inspected to determine if we were required to conduct the noise assessment, and here’s the way and when we completed it’. If you claim you’ve checked , but don’t provide evidence to prove it then they’ll get a sharp glance in their single eye and unleash their fury at you since you can’t show that you checked and they will conclude that you most likely just overlooked the issue.

Keep in mind that if there’s any evidence or documentation of an action, it’s not happening. It’s better to do the right thing and gotten an outcome that they don’t agree with, than to be deemed not tried in the first place.