How to manage noise on-site

Worksites tend to be filled with constant noise from tools and machinery.

While noise often means things are getting done, there is a downside to it. Hazardous noise can affect a worker’s physical and mental wellbeing including hearing loss, stress, and lower productivity. So to help you protect your hearing, here are a few helpful tips to keep your ears in tip-top-shape.

Understand noise and it’s path

Understanding what makes noise on-site and how it impacts people and different areas on site is critical. Ask yourself and your workers:

  • Where does most of the noise come from?
  • What tools or machinery are the loudest?
  • How does noise travel around the site?

Once you understand the answers to the above, you can start putting actions into place to control noise on-site.

Be sure to monitor and review the controls throughout the project, as different stages will create varying levels of noise.

Eliminate or reduce

The easiest way to decrease the effect of excessive noise on your site is to eliminate the source of noise completely. But, chances are this isn’t possible on a busy site.

The next best thing is to reduce noise.

A couple of easy ways to do this include:

  • Using less powerful tools
  • Can the work be done differently to reduce noise levels
  • Keep noisy machinery or work stations away from walls or corners – really anywhere noise can bounce off and echo throughout site


Isolation involves creating a dedicated space for ‘noisy work’. This could be an enclosed room or area of site where all noisy work and machinery is used or placing workers in an enclosed cabin when operating mobile plant. This helps to block the path of noise and reduce the levels that reach your team.


Having a good understanding of how machinery and tools operate can help modify processes to reduce noise at the source. Engineering controls can include choosing attachments or parts that are noise reducing, or changing the way machinery and tools are used.


With noise comes vibrations. These vibrations can be just as harmful as the noise itself.

Here are a few strategies to help decrease vibrations when using machines or power tools:

  • Heavy surfaces vibrate less and radiate less noise. So if you can, perform all work with power tools on heavy surfaces, such as concrete.
  • If you can, work on benches/ surfaces that aren’t solid – holes allow noise to escape and not bounce off the surface.
  • Place machinery or generators in an area of site where they are not trapped by walls unless they are made of noise-cancelling/absorbing materials.

It’s not possible to escape noise on-site, however we can put steps in place to help reduce the effect that noise has on us while we’re working.

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