ES&H Manual



6640 Appendix T1

High Noise Exposure Assessment



1.0             Purpose


A high noise exposure assessment is required when individual exposure is suspected to be at or above 85 dBA. This appendix provides recognized high noise conditions; the process steps used to schedule and obtain an exposure assessment; and how monitoring is implemented.


2.0             Scope


Personal noise dosimetry and area noise may be necessary to determine if a work area is considered to be a high noise area. If high noise is found to be at or above 85 dBA, the area is posted and noise control options are evaluated. The process steps for this procedure are performed in coordination with ES&H Manual Chapter 6640 Hearing Conservation Program.


3.0             Responsibilities

NOTE:           Management authority may be delegated to a task qualified Jefferson Lab employee at the discretion of the responsible manager.


3.1              Anyone at Jefferson Lab

·         Ensure that at design of new processes/building equipment that noise control techniques are considered.

·         Request a High Noise exposure assessment if you recognize possible high noise conditions.


3.2              Supervisor/Subcontracting Officer’s Technical Representative (SOTR)/Sponsor

·         Ensure individuals under your authority, who are exposed to high noise levels, are informed and appropriate hearing protection is utilized in accordance with ES&H Manual Chapter 6620 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program and ES&H Manual 6800 Occupational Medicine.

·         Implement engineering controls and PPE use requirements are recommended by Industrial Hygiene.


3.3              Industrial Hygiene

·         Perform High Noise exposure assessments and monitoring when requested, or identified.

·         Provide recommendations for engineering controls and PPE to workers and supervisors.


4.0             Process Steps


Unless otherwise stated, anyone at Jefferson Lab may perform the process steps outlined below.


4.1              High Noise Recognition


Conditions which suggest that noise may be a hazard issue include:


·         Noise makes conversation at a normal level difficult.

·         Ringing, muffling, numbness, or other unusual sensations after exposure to a noise source.

·         Tools or processes that produce high noise on a regular or sporadic basis:

o   Table 1 contains a list of equipment and processes that requires hearing protection when used. 

·         When listed on an individual’s Skills Requirements List.


Other considerations include: warnings/cautions provided in equipment’s owner manuals, and accumulated noise of two or more “safe” sources. 

Abrasive Blasters

·      All media types [double hearing protection]

·      Blasting cabinets [hearing protection required unless otherwise determined]

·      Pressure washers

o     Up to 40000psi:single hearing protection

o    Ultra-High Pressure (UHP) [dual hearing protection]


·     Hammer drills

·     Magnetic base drills

·     Drill presses

·     Drills equipped with any size hole saw

Metal working equipment

·      Handheld grinders (all sizes)

·      Rotary files

·      Metal band saws

·      Hole saws

·      Chop saws

·      Bench grinders


Wood working equipment

·      Circular saws or Skilsaws

·      Band saws

·      Table saws

·      Miter saws

·      Reciprocating saws

·      Hole saws

·      Jig saws

·      Oscillating saws

·      Belt sanders

·      Orbital sanders

·      Palm sanders

·      Lathes

·      Planers

·      Joiners

·      Nail guns (with the exception of brad nailers and light to medium duty staplers)

Masonry equipment

·      Grinders (all sizes)

·      Masonry (brick/block) saws

·      Cut-off saws

·      Walk behind saws

·      Core driller

·      Vibratory rammers

·      Plate compactors

·      Surface grinders/polishers

·      Scarifiers

·      Scabblers

·      Power trowels

·      Handheld mixers

·      Tile saws

·      Chipping/breakers/demolition hammers [dual hearing protection]

·      Rotary hammers


Other tools

·   Impact drivers

·    Impact wrenches

·    Undercut/Toe kick/Door Jamb saws

·    Airless paint sprayers

·    Air guns used for blow down

·    Power actuated fasteners [dual hearing protection]





·   Flux core arc welding

·   Plasma welding

·   MIG welding

·   Carbon arc cutting [dual hearing protection]


Metal working

·   Grinding or cutting on metals with an angle grinder of any size and any type of abrasive wheel.

·   Cutting metal with any type of bladed saw

·   Drilling, boring, or milling

·   CNC machining (unless in a closed system)

Masonry work

·      Surface preparation with abrasive wheels

·      Cutting with masonry saws, walk-behind and hand-held [dual hearing protection]

·      Drilling or boring

·      Chipping/Demolition [dual hearing protection]

Wood working

·      Generally all types of woodworking with power tools whether handheld or stationary require hearing protection.


Table 1: Processes and equipment requiring hearing protection; dual hearing protection required where noted.


4.2              High Noise Hazard Evaluation


Request a High Noise exposure assessment from Industrial Hygiene when high noise symptoms are recognized. 

·         Concerned individuals are allowed to observe the monitoring process. 






> 100 dBA


(i.e.: noise level is greater than or equal to 100 dBA.)

Dual Hearing Protection is required.


Engineering control options are provided to supervisor and DSO.

1.       The Supervisor and area owner are informed. 


2.       The following activities are initiated:

·      Engineering control options evaluated

·      Monitoring in accordance with Industrial Hygiene procedures as needed for control options evaluation.

·      Medical Monitoring in accordance with ES&H Manual Chapter 6800 Appendix T1 Medical Monitoring

·      Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with ES&H Manual Chapter 6620 PPE Program

·      Postings Installed in accordance with ES&H Manual Chapter 6640 T3 High Noise Posting Requirements

85 dBA< NL<100 dBA


(i.e.: noise level is greater than or equal to 85 dBA but less than 100 dBA

Hearing Protection is required.


Engineering control options are provided to supervisor and DSO.

< 85 dBA


(i.e.: noise level is less than 85 dBA)

Hearing Protection is NOT required.

1.       The concerned party(s) is informed of the determination. 


2.       IH notifies Occupational Medicine if noise concern is not satisfied.  IH, OccMed, worker, and supervisor discuss alternative solutions.


4.3              Monitoring


Monitoring is required for any area recognized, or suspected to be at or above 85 dBA. Industrial Hygiene provides appropriate monitoring in accordance with required regulations and standards per department procedures. Monitoring may be requested for any area at Jefferson Lab through Industrial Hygiene. 


5.0             Revision Summary

Revision 3.0 – 07/28/2020 – Periodic Review; updated header, updated footer, update manual references to various chapters, removed Table 2: Processes Requiring Hearing Protection, updated scope and process steps under 4.1 (STR-2020-01-02-02)

Revision 2.0 – 08/04/17 – Periodic Review; formerly titled ‘High Noise Hazard Evaluation and Area Monitoring’; updated TPOC from D.Owen to J.Williams; added Table 1: Equipment Requiring Hearing Protection and Table 2: Processes Requiring Hearing Protection

Revision 1.0 – 04/16/12 – Updated to reflect current laboratory operations

Revision 0.0 – 08/31/06 – Initial content











ES&H  Division

Jennifer Williams





This document is controlled as an on-line file.  It may be printed but the print copy is not a controlled document.  It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that the document is the same revision as the current on line file.  This copy was printed on 8/10/2020.