Australia and New Zealand News (Jun 2016)

Noise and Vibration in the Workplace Articles

The April issue of Acoustics Australia, the journal of the Australian Acoustical Society, focuses on noise and vibration in the workplace with fourteen papers, three forum articles, plus relevant items in the news and notes by the special-issue editor, Pam Gunn.

Starting with control of noise at the source (as one should!), Peter Wilson of the UK INVC gives an update of his well-known “Top 10” noise control solutions, some of which can be shown to be self-financing, thus dispelling the myth that all noise control is too difficult and expensive. For some of the trickier low-frequency noise situations in large vehicle cabins, Jie Pan of the University of Western Australia presents the successes he has had with active noise control. Important “Buy Quiet” initiatives in both the USA and UK are discussed by Bryan Beamer from NIOSH and Paul Brereton and Jacqueline Patel from UK HSE respectively. Thais Morata, also of NIOSH, shows how an awards scheme can uncover case studies on effective hearing loss prevention. Elizabeth Brueck from the UK HSL gives us tips from her many years of experience in accurately measuring the risk of high impulsive noise, including the latest advances in hearing protector assessment in such situations. Initiatives to prevent hearing loss in the USA construction industry are summarized by Scott Schneider of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, and noise exposure and education among fitness instructors in NSW is presented by Valerie Nie and Elizabeth Beach from the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University. To round off the noise section, Marion Burgess and Brett Molesworth from the University of NSW investigate the noise reduction of in-use aviation headsets, including those with active noise-cancelling features.

The vibration section opens with Daniel Arquero and Paul Taylor from SWA providing background to recently published guidance material on management of both hand-arm and whole-body vibration. Rebecca Devine relays a success story about workers and contractors of a Queensland aluminium company promoting hand-arm vibration (HAV) awareness and encouraging controls in management. Paul Pitts and Paul Brereton of the UK HSL and HSE generously share their latest development of simple tools to support HAV exposure evaluation drawn from years of gathering real-world vibration measurements. The table of typical vibration magnitudes should prove particularly useful as it is an update on the one in the present Australian guidance. Also from the UK HSL, Susan Hewitt, in collaboration with colleagues from the USA NIOSH, gives us the latest research on the efficacy (or otherwise) of “anti-vibration” gloves. To conclude the section, Robin Burgess-Limerick from the University of Queensland presents a review of measuring and managing workplace whole-body vibration, and includes his recent work on monitoring using an iOS application.

Complementing these papers and technical notes in the formal section of the issue are three contributions to the “Acoustic Forum” section. One is by Luciana Macedo from 3M who discusses developments in individual fit-testing for personal hearing protectors. Kate Lewkowski from Curtin University summarizes the program for the noise part of the Australian Workplace Exposure Survey (AWES). Richard Glover from LimitEar in the UK provides an overview of the options for managing the personal hearing exposure for those wearing headsets.

In the “Notes” section, there is a summary of current and recent Australian research work on workplace noise control and hearing conservation education, as well as information on progress with the international standardization of using otoacoustic emissions to monitor hearing in workers.

The issue (Acoustics Australia, volume 44, no. 1, April 2016) is available from the Springer website: The “News Item” that includes the abstracts of all the papers, forum articles, plus the news and notes, is open access. The papers by the UK HSE authors are also open access. Access to the full text of the other articles is via Springer subscription, or individual articles can be purchased from Springer.

Coincidentally, volume 29 of the journal of the Acoustical Society of New Zealand has a similar focus—occupational noise in New Zealand. The issue comprises three papers on occupational noise incidence, legislation, and controls in smaller enterprises in New Zealand and is freely available from

(News sources)

AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND: Marion Burgess.