Advice for manufacturers

This page will help machinery manufacturers, their authorised representatives or importers comply with their duties for noise risk under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (as amended).

The guidance can also help employers who use manufacturers’ information when buying quieter machines, to reduce their workers’ exposure to noise at work.

What the regulations require you to do

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations (SMR) require new equipment to be designed so the risks from noise are reduced to the lowest level. This includes accounting for technical progress in noise control and supplying information about noise risks.

The SMR set out the following essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) for noise, which you can find in Schedule 2, Annex 1:

  • produce machinery that can be used without risk including risk from noise (EHSRs 1.1.2 and 1.5.8)
  • alert users to residual risks including risks from noise, for example, when a noise test code produces noise emission values that do not represent noise emissions during intended uses of machines (EHSRs 1.1.2 and 1.7.2)
  • provide information in the instructions accompanying the machinery, including on how to reduce risks from noise (EHSR
    • how to install the machine for minimum noise
    • instructions for use of the machinery and, if necessary, any training of operators
    • information about the residual risks remaining, including noise risks
    • instructions on the measures to be taken by the user, including the hearing protection to be provided
    • information on airborne noise emissions, including the uncertainties surrounding these values
  • include the information on airborne noise emissions in the sales literature describing the performance characteristics of the machinery (EHSR

Minimising noise risk 

The SMR require machinery manufacturers to minimise noise at source. Where noise risk is not eliminated or minimised at source, measures are required (for example fitting partial enclosures, screens etc) to protect against the remaining noise.

Ideally, work equipment should be designed and manufactured to avoid the risk of deafness or hearing damage and should not interfere with normal conversation, audible alarms etc.

If the noise level from a machine remains high, despite applying all technical measures to control it, you must provide information so the equipment can be used without risk, for example, advice on hearing protection.

Reporting noise emissions

You must report the noise performance of your machinery in your instructions and sales material. You must include:   

  • emission sound pressure level and associated uncertainty at workstations if it is above 70 dB(A)
  • peak noise at workstations if it exceeds 130 dB(C)
  • sound power level and associated uncertainty if the emission sound pressure level at workstations exceeds 80 dB(A)

For machinery designated for outdoor use you must also comply with the requirements of the Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations.

You can find comprehensive guidance on how to report noise emissions.

You can gain a ‘presumption of conformity’ by following a designated product safety standard. A list of designated standards is published on GOV.UK.

Your noise emission data should include a reference to the noise test code used (including the part number and date). If a designated standard has not been used, you must describe the measurement method and the operating conditions of the machinery during these measurements.

Noise emission data should represent the noisiest operation in typical use of the machine under test (in line with BS EN ISO 12001).

Reproducing the tests used to measure these noise emission values should result in a value below the sum of the declared emission sound pressure level and the associated uncertainty value.

Other information you must provide about noise risks

You must provide information on the residual noise risk so the machine can be used safely, including:

  • how to install, set, operate and maintain the machine to minimise risk from noise etc
  • noise control options (noise hood, enclosures etc) and appropriate hearing protection

If the declared emission sound pressure level does not adequately represent the noise emissions during the intended use of the machine, you must provide additional information and warnings to enable users to assess and manage the associated noise risks.

The information you provide should help purchasers and employers compare machinery noise emissions so they can plan their noise risk assessment to protect their employees.

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Updated 2021-10-21