Introduction The use of open plan offices in face-to face contact centres and phone contacts centres has become a trend over the 20 years. This paper will present the outcomes of noise monitoring in two contact centres which deal with enquires from students in a university.
Methods The noise exposure of a minimum of 10 participants were measured in each location on a number of days, as specified in AS/NZS 1269.1:2005. This repeat monitoring was undertaken to ascertain if the exposures differed significantly between days and different office environments. In addition the ambient noise levels were measured to determine if the environment met the design requirements for acoustics as specified in AS/NZS 2107:2016 Acoustics—Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building interiors.
Results The results showed that none of the personnel exposures exceeded the Occupational Nosie Exposure Standard of Leq of 85 dBA for 8 hours, as expected. The highest personal exposure in Location 1 was 76.5 dBA and in Location 2 was 78.2 dBA, but this only occurred on one day each. The minimum ambient levels were within the specification of AS/NZS 2107:2016 of 40 to 45 dBA.
Discussion The levels of noise measured in the enquiry office were well below the current Australian standard for occupational noise exposure (Leq of 85 dBA), therefore they meet current legislative requirements, and did not constitute a noise induced hearing loss issue. However, it is considered that such noise levels may contribute to speech intelligibility and communication issues, potentially reducing productivity, and possibly instituting fatigue, due to the reverberant nature of the environment.
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