Discipline leader for working environment in the PSA, Sigve Knudsen, calls on the players to join forces to put an end to the noise problems in the petroleum activities.
"The operating companies play an important role in setting the standards, they are the ones that accept the use of noisy equipment on their facilities and installations, but contractor companies performing the work and the equipment manufacturers also have work to do," stated Knudsen during the PSA's breakfast seminar on noise on 1 February.
The seminar ”Noise – are we turning a deaf ear?” was webcast live on the PSA's website, and is now available as a recording:
Noise is a problem. Some employees are operating on the edge as regards the risk of noise injuries.
Surface treatment personnel are in some periods exposed to up to 115 decibels and must trust in ear muffs and plugs to protect their hearing, which they do not actually do to a satisfactory extent. Five to ten per cent of hearing protection users gain little benefit from the equipment.
"If you are exposed to 115 decibels for 30 seconds, you have reached the 12-hour limit value," says Ola Kolnes, head of the PSA's work on noise. In such situations, it does not take much for the hearing protection to fail.
For surface treatment personnel and several other groups, noise from handheld pneumatic tools is the most important problem. So-called needle scalers continue to be used to a great extent. This technology was developed in the 19th century and has not been significantly improved upon.
The risk level in the Norwegian petroleum activities (RNNP) shows a relatively high number of noise injuries. These are chronic injuries that will worsen with age. The RNNP questionnaire survey shows that 37 per cent state that they quite often/very often/always suffer from a high noise level. Five per cent state that they suffer some or quite a lot from impaired hearing, and 45 per cent of them believe noise in the working environment is the reason for their impaired hearing.
The PSA presented a number of examples of implemented measures to reduce noise. The potential for reduced noise is especially high on offshore facilities, where there is a large concentration of noise sources.
"If we gather all good examples of measures, share these across the industry and implement measures on a broad front, we will achieve significant noise reduction for many exposed groups," was the message from the PSA's Sigvart Zachariassen during the seminar.
"The need now is for decisions that can give a noticeable increase in the volume of measures."
Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Ola Kolnes, principal engineer