We work with several companies all of which have varying degrees of noise. The legal requirements of noise levels can be found in the Noise At Work Regulations.
Excess noise can cause gradual deafness which normally occurs over a period of time. If noise is not tackled within your business you could be exposing the business to possible criminal and civil prosecution.
As a general rule of thumb, if you can hold a normal conversation without having to shout at each other the noise levels are probably around 80 decibels.
If you are working in a noisy area, the noise levels should be measured by using a calibrated noise meter. If the noise level is in excess of 85 db then suitablehearing protection must be enforced.
Noise is not all about decibels (db), other factors need to be considered such as exposure times, noise pressures etc
Common failings of employers is not getting a proper noise assessment carried out and then where required ensuring the correct type of hearing protection is supplied and equally important that the ear protection is enforced and is worn correctly.
Its also good practice to carry out health screening for employees who are known to be exposed to noise. This ideally should be completed when the employee joins the company and then periodically thereafter.