Is noise an issue in your workplace?
The Health and Safety Executive seem to think so, more than two million people are exposed to noise levels that could be harmful.
Generally noise is not seen as a significant hazards by some employers, and because of this misperception control measures are only implemented when some hearing loss is detected, highlighted due to ageing when people realise how impaired their hearing has become.
Noise is sometimes seen as a complex subject and therefore overlooked when addressing Health and Safety issues.
You will need to address noise issues in the workplace if:
The noise is intrusive-like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant, or worse than intrusive, for most of the working day.
Employees have to raise their voices to have a normal conversation when about 2 metres apart for at least part of the day.
Employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour a day.
Your workplace is one known to have noisy tasks, e.g. construction, demolition or road repair, woodworking, plastics processing, engineering, textile manufacture, general fabrication, forging or stamping, paper or board making, canning or bottling, foundries, waste and recycling.
There are noises due to impacts (such as hammering, drop forging, pneumatic impact tools ) explosive sources such as cartridge-operated tools or detonators, or guns.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work.
The Regulations require the employer 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 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.
Some examples of noise control measures:
Using quieter equipment or a different, quieter process;
Engineering/technical changes to reduce the noise at source;
Using screens, Barriers, enclosures or absorbent materials
Laying out of the workplace to create quiet workstations;
Improved ways of working to reduce noise levels;
Limiting the time you spend in noisy environment.
Please don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 690 6293, if you need further advice, we are competent to undertake noise surveys for your workplace.