Noise increases the risk of accidents, contributes to stress, and may harm hearing.

Norsk versjon - Støy

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with personal protective equipment

Noisy work environments

The magnitude of unwanted noise is measured in decibels (dB). The magnitude, duration, frequency and whether the noise is a bang are all deciding factors in the characterization of the noise as hazardous.


Use hearing protection if technical equipment or other noise sources cannot be blocked. Remember that noise increases the risk of accidents because it is distracting and because it becomes impossible to hear and understand signal. Noise also contributes to stress, increasing strain and the risk of making mistakes.

Make sure that you have the proper training and necessary information to work safely. If the unit's risk assessment concludes that precautions and Personal protective equipment are necessary, such equipment should be available and in good shape.

If you are exposed to hearing impairing noise, you should be offered a hearing examination. The offer is given based on a risk assessment. Occupational health services can help you with the assessment.

Hearing injuries

You hearing may become damaged if you are exposed to:

  • Unexpected noises
  • Loud noises
  • Loud and short noises such as explosions, bangs, shots, nail guns, etc.
  • The risk of hearing injuries increases if you work in a noisy environment at the same time as chemical such as toluene, styrene and carbon disulfide.

Hearing loss caused by loud noises is permnent. Hearing loss from loud noises in the workplace is the most common work-related injury in Europe. Noise can also be bothersome without causing permanent damage. Read more about Noise on the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority's (Norwegian only).

Occupational exposure limits

Daily noise exposure level should not exceed LEX, 8h = 80 dB. Top level should not exceed LpC, peak = 130 dB. If you are exposed to noise that exceeds these limits, you should undergo a medical examination.

Questions to ask during HSE processes

  • Are any noises present that are uncomfortable or hinder regular conversations between employees?
  • What are the unit's routines for use of personal protective equipment?
  • What are the unit's routines for offering hearing tests if injuries are suspected?


NTNU regulations

Legislation (in Norwegian)

Contact information


Approved by Director of HSE - April 9th 2013 - HMSR59E