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News

Is your workplace noisy?

HSE InfoLine : 27 March, 2006  (Company News)
Hearing loss caused by work is preventable but once your hearing, or that of your workers, has gone it won't come back. A communications campaign was launched today through key trade journals, direct mail-outs, online newsletters and press activity to remind people of the simple rules of thumb to see whether the new regulations may apply. If they do, employers can get help tackling noise at work through HSE's noise web pages and Infoline.
The Health and Safety Executive is today reminding employers that the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 come into force in a little over two weeks' time on 6 April. The 2005 Regulations will replace the existing Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

Hearing loss caused by work is preventable but once your hearing, or that of your workers, has gone it won't come back. A communications campaign was launched today through key trade journals, direct mail-outs, online newsletters and press activity to remind people of the simple rules of thumb to see whether the new regulations may apply. If they do, employers can get help tackling noise at work through HSE's noise web pages and Infoline.

The Regulations, which come into force on 6 April, put the emphasis on identifying measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise at work rather than simply relying on hearing protection, although this may also be needed in the short term.

Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive said: 'Over 1 million employees in Great Britain are exposed to levels of noise which put their hearing at risk. The costs to industry, society and, most importantly, the people who suffer deafness or permanent hearing damage as a result of exposure to noise at work, are considerable. The new Regulations introduce a reduction in the acceptable noise levels at work. The action values have gone down by 5 dB and there is a welcome focus on noise control rather than just taking measurements. Employers should consider changes of process, engineering controls, changes of workplace lay out, or controlling the amount of time individuals spend in noisy areas. Full compliance with the new Regulations would over time eliminate occupational noise-induced hearing loss.'

Workplaces, which fell within the scope of the 1989 Regulations, should already have measures in place and the main effect is likely to be a need to review their risk assessments and prioritise their noise-control measures. Employees whose use of hearing protection under the 1989 Regulations was advisory will now have to wear the protection supplied. Employees newly covered by the Regulations are at relatively lower risk, and the employer will need to put in place proportionate noise reduction measures and provide hearing protection on request.'
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