What is it?
Sounds and noises are a part of everyday life; however excessive exposure to high levels of noise can be somewhat a nuisance and lead to health problems. The new noise at work regulations were introduced 8th April 2006. They are aimed at protecting the hearing of employees and state exactly what s required from the employer/employee and machine suppliers. The potential danger can be controlled effectively if the noise levels area assessed and control measures put in place.
Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage. Damage can involve loss of hearing ability and people may also suffer a permanent sensation of ringing in the ears known as ‘tinnitus’. Hearing loss caused by over exposure to noise at work continues to be a significant occupational disease. Research estimates that 170,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other hearing and ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work.
Factors that contribute to hearing damage include:
- Noise levels (given in dB[a])
- How long people are exposed to the noise, Daily and over the years.
To successfully protect your workforce form the effects of noise in the workplace it is vital that you as the employer implement noise management systems.
How we can help
We can carry out Noise assessments within the workplace and upon doing so implement a noise management system to reduce and control your risk of noise within the workplace.
- Employers have a legal duty to protect the hearing of their employees.
- The employer is expected to have the noise assessed with daily personal exposure levels (LEP, d) quoted to determine if the action levels are being exceeded.
- Damage to hearing is irrevocable; however exposure to loud noise at work is preventable.
- If people have to shout to be heard clearly by someone approximately 2 metres away, you may have a noise problem and should have this investigated as a matter of urgency.
Guide to noise levels:
- A normal conversation 50-60dB(A)
- A loud radio 65-75dB(A)
- A busy street 78-85dB(A)
- A heavy lorry about 7 metres away 95-100dB(A)
- A pighouse at feeding time 110dB(A)
- A chainsaw 115-120db(A)
- A jet aircraft taking off 25 metres away 140dB(A)
A European directive has been adopted which means that new UK noise regulations must be introduced by April 2006. For more info please follow the link to the HSE’s website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/index.htm.