To protect the hearing of your employees the Noise Regulations 2005 requires that employers must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce the risk from exposure to noise.
You will need to do something about noise of any of the following apply:
- Is the noise intrusive – like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant – for most of the working day?
- Do your employees have to raise their voices to carry out a normal conversation when about 2 m apart for at least part of the day?
- Do your employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?
- Do you work in a noisy industry, e.g. construction, demolition or road repair; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; general fabrication; forging, pressing or stamping; paper or board making; canning or bottling; foundries?
- Are there noises due to impacts (such as hammering, drop forging, pneumatic impact tools etc), explosive sources such as cartridge operated tools or detonators, or guns?
Noise at work can cause hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, extremely loud, explosive noises. Hearing loss is usually gradual because of prolonged exposure to noise. People may develop tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears), a distressing condition which can lead to disturbed sleep.
Assessing the risk
If you answered ‘yes‘ to any of the questions above then you need to assess the risks and decide what action you need to take to eliminate the risk.
The Regulations require employers to:
- assess the risks to your employees from noise at work;
- take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks;
- provide your employees with hearing protection if you cannot reduce the noise exposure enough by using other methods;
- make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
- provide your employees with information, instruction and training;
- carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health
How can we help?
We can provide a trained assessor to visit your premises and carry out a Noise Assessment using a calibrated noise meter. After the assessment the results are analysed and the findings sent to you. We can then help you put together an action plan to control the noise.