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News

Noise regulations come into force

HSE InfoLine : 06 April, 2006  (Company News)
The Health and Safety Executive is reminding employers that the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 come into force today. The regulations replace the existing Noise at Work Regulations 1989 for all industries in Great Britain except music and entertainment, which have until April 2008 to comply.
The Health and Safety Executive is reminding employers that the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 come into force today. The regulations replace the existing Noise at Work Regulations 1989 for all industries in Great Britain except music and entertainment, which have until April 2008 to comply.

Welcoming the new regulations health and safety minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said, 'With over one million employees in Great Britain exposed to levels of noise at work which could damage hearing the new regulations will reduce exposure without placing unnecessary burdens on employers.'

It is hoped that full compliance with the regulations will eliminate all new cases of hearing damage caused by work by 2030. The Regulations 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.

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.

Brian Lamb, Director of Communications at RNID, says: 'We welcome the new Control of Noise at Work Regulations. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and employers have a legal duty to cut down noise and protect their employees from the harmful effects of noise at work. However, employees also have to play their part and use the hearing protection available to them.

'Noise induced hearing loss is often cumulative and not immediately obvious, so its threat is seldom recognised or taken seriously. Whilst the effects of noise are irreversible, noise induced hearing loss is totally preventable.'

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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