Occupational Workplace Health and Safety
Why is it important?
Possible hazards (pre-during-post event)
Laws and Code of Practice
Code of Practice NOISE CODE OF PRACTICE
WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 1995
Slippery floors- falls
Falling over cables
Back problems from lifting incorrectly
Broken bottles cuts to fingers
Fire extinguisher foam going off
Strobe lighting- epilepsy
Disability access. In case of fire.
Extreme weather. Excessive heat. Outdoor events.
Physical impacts/stress of the gig. Mental health.
Wear covered shoes
Lift with two hands
Bend with the knees
Use two people if lifting more than 23Kg’s
Clean up spills immediately
Make walkways clear from rubbish/gear
Be responsible if drinking.
Don’t touch house/stage lights let them cool
Noise in the music entertainment industry
As well as hearing loss, exposure to the vibration from loud speaker systems
can cause internal organs to vibrate at a much faster rate than the body
trunk. This in turn may cause damage to those internal organs.
Music sound levels
Sound level surveys conducted in nightclubs, hotels and other entertainment
venues found average sound exposure levels from pre-recorded or amplified
live music in the range of mid 90 - 100dB. Peak sound levels were also
measured in excess of 140dB Peak (C). Often with sound levels of this
magnitude the base sounds are enhanced as well and cause a vibratory or
thumping sensation in the chest.
With extended hours, workers and self employed people (for example,
owners of venues and security guards) are working in these environments
for longer periods of time. Shifts of seven to nine hours are no exception.
Because of this, they are exposed more often, and for longer periods of time,
to loud music than patrons visiting perhaps once or twice a week for a few
Control Measures for
There are some common arguments why it is perceived that control measures cannot be
taken in this industry:
'We cannot have the music at a lower volume as the public likes it that way’
'I (or my staff) cannot wear earplugs as they (the staff) must be able to understand the
Anecdotal evidence from patrons suggest they do not want the music so loud they cannot
have a conversation and if no earplugs are worn by staff at work, it is possible that in time
they will experience hearing loss sufficient to limit their ability to hear customers clearly in
While it is acknowledged that there may be some initial difficulty in understanding
customers' drink orders while wearing ear plugs, experience has shown that generally this
is overcome within about a week.
After this adjustment period, the wearer of the hearing protector will actually hear better in
the noisy work environment than without the protector being worn. If the wearer continues
to experience difficulties in understanding it is probably a sign that some hearing damage
has already happened or that the hearing protectors are of the wrong rating.
In that case, it would be better to try 'musicians earplugs', which provide a flatter response
over the frequency range. This has the effect of turning down the volume but without the
distortion (bassy sound) that industrial type earplugs often have.
Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008, the employer has an obligation
under section 139 to prevent the risk from that exposure.
This means that the employer must, if necessary, enforce the wearing of
hearing protectors by the employer's workers, as the employer cannot allow a
dangerous situation to continue. There are legal precedents (Bartley v Coles
Myer, Groothoff v Venues Unlimited Pty Ltd and Young v Wildlodge Pty Ltd and
Hannay) which deal exactly with the requirement to provide and enforce the
use of personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to risk at work.
However, before the employer takes such action the employer must have
provided proper training to the workers to enable them to wear the hearing
'My staff cannot wear earplugs as the customer might think that the noise is too
Yes, the music is too loud for those working in the industry without using
hearing protectors and may be too loud for the patrons. A prudent venue
operator makes earplugs available for patrons and states their availability with
a notice near the venue's entrance.
Noise control measures
The control of music entertainment noise should, wherever possible, be done through
engineering and/or administrative noise control measures.
Installing a sound limiter or compressor in the amplified sound system to ensure that the
music volume does not exceed a pre-set limit. This is particularly advisable in venues where
different DJs operate the sound system. Sound limiters work on the principle that a warning
is given that a pre-set level is being reached. If the warning is ignored the limiter cuts out
the music. Compressors, as the word implies, compress sound levels within set limits. For
both systems, the venue would most likely need the services of a audio engineer or other
competent person to set the appropriate sound level for the venue.
Installing a sound ceiling above the dance floor. A sound ceiling consists of a structure
suspended from the building ceiling with acoustic tiles and directional speakers mounted in
it. This results in loud music over the dance floor but which drops by about 10dB at about
one and a half to two metres from the dance floor.
Enclosing or partitioning off the DJ booth and bar area with glass or perspex to ensure the
sound levels inside these areas are within the prescribed limits.
Examples of administrative noise control measures include:
rotating staff to limit their exposure to loud music by assigning them duties in quieter areas
specifying a maximum noise level in contracts with live bands, which must not be exceeded.