Meeting Community Noise Standards-March 2016

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety

March 2016

IN THIS ISSUE: Meeting Community Noise Standards

If you work at an industrial facility, there are generally noise sources that can affect employee hearing. Implementation of hearing conservation may include identification of noise sources, testing and monitoring, engineering controls, training, and hearing protection to control employee exposure to noise.

Many jurisdictions also have noise ordinances that limit that amount of noise that can leave the facility.

The federal government passed the Noise Control Act to emphasize reduction of noise in 1972. However, it was soon decided that noise was a local issue relegated to the states and localities, thereby closing the Office of Noise Abatement of the EPA. Since that time, more and more communities have enacted noise regulations as citizens have become more conscious of noise. Most are enforced in residential areas. However, where industries are near homes, hospitals, schools, and libraries, local ordinances can also be directed against them. As safety professionals, it is important to know the noise laws and make sure company officials are aware of their impact. Problems may exist where facilities once in an isolated area is slowly surrounded by homes and businesses. Due to noise and other concerns, businesses have had to close or move.

As an example of regulations, the City of Dallas allows a daytime noise level at the property line of between 56 and 70 decibels on the A Scale (dBA) depending upon the type of district. Daytime is defined as 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM on any given day. The City of Fort Worth allows 70 dBA during the day, also 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and 60 dBA at night, 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM. In commercial and mixed use areas, it allows 80 dBA during the day and 70 dBA at night.  Sound-level limits are measured from the property line of the person making the noise complaint.

How to Comply with Community Noise Standards:

  • Check with the local officials about noise ordinances.
  • Determine which entity enforces the law (i.e. noise control office, police, fire).
  • Determine if laws are enforced only when there is a complaint or whenever officials determine a violation.
  • Measure sound levels of all noise sources. These may include power generating units, fluid control systems, process equipment, atmospheric inlets and discharges, material handling, and plant traffic.
  • Measure the noise at company land boundaries and at the nearest houses or other affected businesses
  • Take measurements during the day and evening.

Regardless of the regulations, it is important to get along with neighboring residents and businesses. Chemical releases, traffic, property damage, as well as noise can all cause conflict. Be a good neighbor!

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety Services, Inc. Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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