Noise At work

Three million employees reported being exposed to noise above 85dB (A) in France in 2003 (SUMER Report).

Extract of the study SUMER 2003

Economic sectorEmployees exposed to noise > 85dB (A) for more than 20 hours / weekIncluding those without personal hearing protectors
Pulp and paper industry 37,4% 18,1%
Metallurgy and metallurgical processes 33,3% 20,4%
Mineral products industry 26,3% 14,1%
Automobile industry 21,1% 18,6%
Mechanical equipment industry 21,0% 20,3%
Textile industry 20,0% 28,2%
Agriculture and food industry 18,2% 26,1%
Chemicals, rubber, plastics 16,9% 23,7%
Industry of household equipment 16,1% 17,8%
Agriculture, silviculture, and fishing 13,0% 32,9%
Shipbuilding, aerospace, and railway 13,0% 27,5%
Construction 11,5% 29,5%
Clothing, leather 10,5% NS
Publishing, printing, and reproduction 10,4% 39,3%
Operational services 10,2% 40,0%
Automotive sales and repairs 9,4% 49,7%
Electrical and electronic components 8,5% NS
Pharmacy, perfumery, and personal care 7,6% NS
Electrical and electronic equipment 3,9% NS
Wholesale trade 3,9% 49,4%
Transport 3,3% 66,2%
Recreational, cultural, and sports activities 2,2% NS
Water, gas, electricity 2,1% 25,5%
Hotels and restaurants 2,0% NS
Personal and household services 1,9% NS
Health, social welfare 1,3% 59,1%
Research and development 1,2% NS
Education 1,0% NS
Guidance and support 0,7% NS
Public administration 0,7% NS
Associative and offshore activities 0,6% NS
Retail trade, repairs 0,5% NS
Real estate 0,5% NS
Financial activities 0,3% NS
Post and telecommunications 0,1% NS
Together 6,8% 32,0%
NS : Not Significant

One in three employees exposed to sound intensities > 85dB (A) are not protected.

The 2003 SUMER report indicates that nearly 7% of employees are exposed to noise levels above 85dB (A) for longer than 20 hours/week.

In industries, 77% of employees exposed are provided with hearing protection. 71% are in construction and 67% in agriculture. However, in the tertiary sector which is less affected by harmful noise, more than half of employees exposed to noise are not protected.

"Noise at the workplace" graph

Graph 1 : Nearly six out of ten employees exposed to harmful noise work in industries


HearingProTech is a department of Arta Group. Its mission is to perform and disseminate research, analyses, and tools to aid in the selection of personal hearing protection devices. Composed of technical and scientific experts, HearingProTech aims to advance knowledge in this area and make it more easily accessible.