Headaches, tiredness, stomach ulcers, hypertension, vertigo, nausea, a permanent whining, buzzing, hissing or humming in the ears. Noise can also damage hearing permanently in the worst cases. Excessive noise reduces work efficiency, and increases absenteeism. In extreme cases, noise can be fatal if there is so much noise that personnel cannot hear instructions or alarms.

Good noise performance is critical to the business performance, safety and environmental excellence of any asset. Good noise performance is largely a question of good management, coupled with the necessary technical expertise.

Noise management practice varies from a high risk, zero cost "do nothing!" approach to a low risk, high cost "do everything possible!" Apart from the operational penalties of inadequate or non-existing noise management – harm to personnel, environmental damage and reduced performance – the immediate financial risks of the "do nothing" approach are increasing as authorities around the world become more acutely sensitive to the issue of noise in the welfare of workers and the environment. Permits and licenses may be revoked on the basis of poor noise performance and retroactive noise control can be extremely costly.

However, the "do everything!" approach has an equally dramatic downside. Noise control measures can be intrusive; they can limit access to essential machinery, impact negatively on other aspects of health and safety and, in many cases, impose limitations on the performance of facilities and equipment.

Between these two extremes lies successful noise management which minimizes the health and safety impact of noise, while maintaining the accessibility, operability and performance of machinery and components. The best noise management does this in the most cost-efficient manner, focusing treatment only where it is needed. This requires an intimate understanding of not only where noise comes from and how it spreads and fills work spaces, but also knowledge of the practices of personnel and how these affect their exposure to noise.

This document presents the different aspects of importance when conducting noise prediction in offshore assets and the consequences of executing noise studies at different phases of projects.

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