Projects > Trustpower Hydro Power Stations – Occupational noise assessments

Since 2011, AES have been involved with undertaking occupational noise assessments at several South Island hydro power stations.

With locations including Lake Coleridge, Highbank, Montalto and The Cobb in Takaka, this work has taken the team off the beaten track – with plenty of opportunities to meet the locals.

trust power in text imageIn line with AS/NZS 1269.3:2005, responsible employers regularly review operating procedures with regard to occupational noise management.  Power stations contain a wide variety of areas and noise sources, all of which must be inspected and quantified. Noise levels may exceed 95 dBA in the machine hall and in workshop areas, and be much lower in control rooms and office areas.  Occupational noise management strategies were therefore required  to  ensure  workers  moving  into  each  area  wear  the appropriate  hearing  protectors.  Care  was also taken to  ensure  staff  avoided  wearing hearing protectors with a much higher attenuation than required for a particular area, as over protection  may  lead  to  a  sense  of  isolation  and  difficulties  with  the  perception  of  useful sounds.

The outcome of the analysis typically involved a high class of hearing protectors being required during specific high noise tasks (compressed air stations, welding bay and the like) and  within  the  open  plan  machinery  hall  during  times  of  peak  activity.    Methods for the on-site marking of these excessive noise areas have been implemented, and management procedures as part of the site induction process are in place to educate workers.

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