Original Research

Noise risk assessment practices of four South African manufacturing and utilities companies

Oscar Rikhotso, Thabiso J. Morodi, Daniel M. Masekameni
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 70, No 1 | a996 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v70i1.996 | © 2023 Oscar Rikhotso, Thabiso J. Morodi, Daniel M. Masekameni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 June 2023 | Published: 28 November 2023

About the author(s)

Oscar Rikhotso, Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Thabiso J. Morodi, Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Daniel M. Masekameni, Department of Occupational Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The South African Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Regulations, mandates employers to conduct a noise risk assessment, which records specific variables for determining the status of exposure and the need for implementation of control measures.

Objectives: The study evaluated company noise risk assessment practices for alignment with legal requirements and specific risk assessment guidelines.

Method: Convenience sampling was used to select the four manufacturing and utilities companies that participated in the study. The participating companies submitted latest noise risk assessment records for evaluation through the READ approach.

Results: The noise risk assessment records of three of the four companies omitted the recording of factors such as the reasonable deterioration in or failure of control measures, adequate control and formalisation of hearing conservation programmes (HCPs). When evaluated against the South African National Standard 31000 Risk Assessment guidelines, the risk assessment processes of the respective companies were lacking in addressing aspects related to establishing communication and consultation, evaluation, adapting, continually improving, leadership and commitment, and integration.

Conclusion: The recorded information on the noise risk assessment reports from the four participating companies were incomplete, negatively affecting subsequent HCP management processes and decision-making. Future studies should investigate other aspects such as the implementation status of recommended noise controls as well as their effectiveness as recorded in the noise risk assessment records.

Contribution: This study provided firsthand insights of company noise risk assessment practices, specifically identifying functional and technical areas requiring improvement to enhance current efforts directed towards the minimisation of NIHL within HCPs. The study highlighted that the current practices on recording noise risk assessment information remain incomplete, adversely diminishing the impact of the assessment as an important decision-making tool. The identified technical issues specifically, when addressed, will increase trust on the decisions derived from noise risk assessments.


monitoring; occupational hygienists; review; risk management; stakeholder participation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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