Irish Navy: Noise at Work (at Sea)

Noise at Work measured, assessed and controlled for Irish Naval Service personnel

The Challenge

With lowered permissible exposure levels for Noise at Work, the Irish Naval Service appointed Acoustical Control Consultants (then Belair Research) to undertake new assessments of naval personnel’s exposure to noise aboard their main vessels.

Navy ships at sea

Our Work

Whilst many Noise at Work assessments need to consider shift patterns to calculate the total exposure to noise during working hours, this was more involved because Navy personnel are aboard and exposed to noise 24 hours a day while at sea. This meant that the Noise at Work assessments had to consider not only the exposure of personnel at work stations, but also when off duty in their cabins, mess rooms, and even on deck.

Close up of Navy ship at sea

We measured the noise level at approximately 100 locations per vessel under different operating conditions to calculate the likely noise exposure for different personnel depending upon their work and rest patterns, as well as the hearing protection equipment staff may wear during certain operations (such as live fire exercises [FYI a live fire exercise is guns going off, not putting out fires!]).

Irish navy crew on a practice drill at sea

In addition to measuring and assessing noise levels aboard the five main vessels (including L.E. Aisling), we discovered the crew members responsible for boarding operations as part of the fisheries protection work were also exposed to relatively high levels of noise when travelling to or from other vessels aboard the Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) used for this work.

The Result

In addition to developing extensive Noise at Work assessments for the crew aboard the different vessels, we also developed a calculator so that the Irish Naval Service personnel could recalculate likely noise exposure levels for personnel under different scenarios.