Petroleum & Gas Inspectorate | Bulletin | No.17 V 1 | 25 July 2022
Noise Health Risk Assessments on Drilling & Completion Activities
The Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate (PGI) conducted a Noise Health Risk Assessment across several drilling & completion plant and activities to determine a baseline for noise hazards. The principal health related effect of noise exposure is hearing loss. Damage to hearing depends on the frequency, loudness and length of noise exposure. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is painless, progressive, permanent and preventable. By controlling the noise within the lease, the benefit extends to environmental noise management e.g. improving landholder relations.
How did it happen?
- 2 x drilling rigs
- 1 x workover rig
- 2 x cementing units
- 2 x vac trucks
- A 12-hr work shift has a target noise level of 82.2 dBA. Personal noise exposure levels are adjusted for shift durations in excess of 8-hrs (85 dBA) to allow for the increased period of exposure and decreased time for recovery.
- Positional exposure levels identified:
- 2 x results below 82 dBA (1 x Rig Manager & 1 x Night Rig Manager)
- 3 x results between 82 – 85 dBA (2 x day OCR & 1 x night OCR)
- 26 x results above 85 dBA – all other positions (Rig Manager, Driller, Assistant Driller, Derrickman, Motorman, Floorman, Leasehand, Cementers & Truck Drivers)
- In addition to potential hearing damage experienced during periods of exposure, the addition of ototoxins increases the risk to personnel. Ototoxins are the exposure to noise and certain physical (vibration) or chemical agents (e.g. carbon monoxide, benzene, lead, mercury, organic solvents and certain metals) and appear to have a cumulative and/or synergistic effect on hearing loss. Ototoxins can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed into the skin, entering the bloodstream and are circulated to the brain where they damage the cells used in hearing and balance. Ototoxins remain in the body long after the noise exposure has ceased and continue to cause damage.
- Area noise measurement results identified various operations and plant that exceeded the adjusted noise level (all above adjusted limit):
|Operation or Plant||LAeq (dBA)||LCpeak (dBC)|
|Knocking up hardline (striking metal action)||101.3||138.2|
|Vac truck suction pumps||92.4||106.9|
|Rig carrier engine||99.8||115.0|
- Identify noise hazards by using a competent person to conduct personal noise testing (not environmental noise testing)
- Develop audiometric testing program, as mandated by the Noise Code of Practice QLD 2021
- Apply Hierarchy of Controls to control noise, focusing on engineering controls e.g. sound attenuation curtains or fully enclosed noise attenuating enclosures around engines rather than low-level controls e.g. PPE and behaviour to follow procedures
- Review the type and class rating of the current hearing protection and tailor to the noise hazard exposure - over-attenuation is just as hazardous as under-attenuation
- Ensure personnel receive thorough training to understand the hazards associated with noise and the effects it has e.g. NIHL.
References and further information
Contact: Donna Jamieson, Senior Inspector , +61 467 789 613 Donna.firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland