- An action level is basically a noise exposure level at which employers are required to take certain steps to reduce the harmful effects of noise on hearing. There are two action levels for continuous Noise:
- The first action level is set at an 8-hour average noise exposure level (or daily personal noise exposure level, LEP,d) of 85 dB(A), at which the employer has to provide information and training and make hearing protection available.
- The second action level is set at a LEP,d of 90 dB(A), above which the employer is required to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce noise exposure, such as engineering controls or other technical measures. The use of hearing protection is also mandatory if the noise cannot be controlled by these measures, or whilst these measures are being planned or carried out. When the Physical Agents (Noise) Directive is implemented in February 2006, the action levels will be lowered; the first action level will be 80 dB(A) and the second action level will be 85 dB(A). There will also be a limit value of 87 dB(A), above which no worker can be exposed (taking hearing protection into account).
See also: Noise Exposure Limits.