Noise At Work Regulations

The latest Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 place a duty on employers to ensure that noise exposure levels are reduced to meet the new exposure limits and a specific requirement is placed on employers to ensure health surveillance is conducted.

One of the major changes to the regulations is the reduction by 5dB of the exposure levels at which action has to be taken.

The action values sit between 80 – 85dB for daily or weekly exposure, with peak sound pressures of 135-137dB.

There is also an upper limit for which exposure must not exceed of 87dB and for daily or weekly exposure and a peak sound pressure of 140dB.

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Exposure to high levels of noise can give rise to stress, tinnitus and even permanent effects such as hearing loss if left unchecked.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) therefore places an obligation on employers to perform a suitable and sufficient noise risk assessment for employees, and to reduce the risk to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work continues to be a significant occupational disease. It is estimated that over 2.2 million people in the UK are exposed to excessive noise levels in the workplace. Recent research estimates that 170,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work.

Excessive noise in the workplace can lead to an unsatisfactory and unsafe working environment and create unwanted and unacceptable noise in the environment. Damage to hearing from exposure in a work environment has lead to an increase in the number of compensation claims. Concerns about the effects of exposure to persistent loud noise on employees have led to a review of work noise by the Government with the introduction of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations, in force from April 2006.

Our service will:

  • Identify where there may be a risk from noise exposure and who is likely to be affected.
  • Contain a reliable estimate of your employee’s exposures, and compare the exposure with the noise exposure action values and limit values.
  • Identify what you need to do to comply with the law, i.e. whether noise-control measures or hearing protection are needed, and if so, where and what type.
  • Identify any employees who need to be provided with health surveillance and whether any are at particular risk.

You will need to take action if your staff are:

  • Surrounded by intrusive noise for most of the working day
  • Raising voice levels to be heard at 2 metres away
  • Using powered tools or machinery for more than 30 minutes a day
  • Working in a noisy industry such as manufacturing 
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