Excessive noise can damage people’s hearing and once this happens it can be permanent and disabling. As an employer, you have a legal, financial and moral responsibility to effectively manage noise.
Hearing loss can be, gradual (caused by exposure to noise over a period of time) or by sudden, extremely loud noises. People may also develop tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate “some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work”.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force in April 2006 and places a duty on employers to assess, and as needed identify measures to eliminate or reduce the risks to employees from exposure to noise. In the working environment, the regulations set levels for noise control that cover, exposure averaged over a working day or week and the maximum noise (peak sound pressure) exposed to in a working day.
Where these levels may be exceeded, controls need to be put into place to avoid or reduce exposure. The values are:
Lower exposure action values:
- daily or weekly exposure of 80 dB;
- peak sound pressure of 135 dB;
Upper exposure action values:
- daily or weekly exposure of 85 dB;
- peak sound pressure of 137 dB;
Our noise risk assessments are conducted by our assessors who are certified through the Institute of Acoustics, and our sound level meters conform to BS EN 61672-1:2013 Class 2 (the standard required by the Control of Noise at Work regulations). The noise risk assessments provide you with a plain English, personally presented report and as required, a prioritised noise-control action plan that will help you to:
- Demonstrate to employees and senior managers that health and safety is a priority, and noise risk is being well-managed
- Comply with the Control of Noise at Work regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Reduce the risk of prosecutions fine and reputational damage
- Prevent absence from work due to deafness or tinnitus
- Protect employee hearing