Home > Equipment & Environment > Noise Management and Control

Noise Management and Control

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 16 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Noise Work Control Management

Noise at work can cause hearing damage and loss. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research puts the number of workers exposed to high noise levels in the UK at two million.

Noise management and control is therefore a serious issue for employers and staff. Hearing damage and loss is often permanent. And yet it’s relatively easy to prevent.

The Law

The law that governs noise management and control is the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. These regulations use a European Union Directive as their basis. They do not apply to any member of the public who experiences noise as part of an activity unrelated to work.

The regulations replaced the Noise at Work Regulations 1989. They introduced four main changes to the law:

  • The action values for peak noise are now 135 dB and 137dB.
  • The action values for daily exposure to noise are down to 80 dB and 85dB.
  • The new exposure limit values are 87 dB for day-to-day exposure, and 140dB for peak noise. These values allow for hearing protection. Noise at work must never exceed them.
  • Employers must provide health checks if there is a danger to health caused by noise.

Assessment

Employers must use the values given above to assess, manage and control noise at work. They must recognise noise hazards and judge the exposure of workers to such noise. They must also have a written action plan to cut back or remove noise hazards; manage workers’ exposure to the hazards; and safeguard workers’ hearing.

Safeguarding Workers

Employers must take positive steps to remove or reduce noise in the workplace. They should seek out the best practice that applies to their business environments. They must also use established management and control solutions.

In some businesses, the risk of hearing damage and loss at work is particularly high. If so, employers should introduce the technical and management changes that control the noise. These changes must ensure that noise does not exceed the exposure limit values laid down in the law.

Practical measures include supplying workers with hearing protection; managing this protection with noise zones, supervision and training; and ensuring that the use of hearing protection is obligatory in high-risk situations.

Worker Training

Worker training is vital if noise management and control measures are to succeed. Employers should also consult with workers to make sure they are fully aware of the purpose of noise control and the dangers of excessive noise.

Health Checks

Employers should put in place hearing checks for all employees who work in noisy environments.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employees also have a responsibility for their own health. They must attend hearing checks when asked to do so and follow health and safety guidelines.

Maintenance

Sometimes, badly Maintained Equipment can be excessively noisy. Employers must arrange to put this right, and workers must report faulty equipment promptly. Employers should also ensure that workers use equipment correctly.

Review

Workplaces change over time. Employers must ensure that any changes take account of noise hazards. They must also look at any new management and control arrangements that cut back on the risks excessive noise can bring.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Ricky
    Re: Going On Strike
    Hi me & colleagues would like to strike over pay but striking on certain duties we carry out in security. Would we be able to strike not doing…
    17 October 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    Patsie - Your Question:What is the law on wearing jewellery for a Barista (no food preparation only coffee making)?
    17 October 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    Kaz - Your Question:I am a permanent member of staff who work shifts over 7 days. we have seasonal contract…
    17 October 2017
  • goodlady
    Re: Safe Working Temperatures
    I work in a care home, the heat is unbearable. There is no air conditioning,I work 12hr shifts, as soon as I walk unto the unit the…
    16 October 2017
  • poppy
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    i have worked in the same job for 14 years -tupe twice- my contracted working hours are 40 my employer is…
    16 October 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Can my Employer Fire Me?
    Eastlands - Your Question:I work in Transport,have a 37.5 hour weekly contract. Invariably on 2 days a week, I finish my…
    16 October 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: General Workplace Safety
    Bones - Your Question:Evening, I am a contractor employed by a principle contractor under a CDM project. I have received an injury…
    16 October 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    Shar - Your Question:Are staff in fast food restaurants allowed to wear shorts?Our Response:As f
    16 October 2017
  • Patsie
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    What is the law on wearing jewellery for a Barista (no food preparation only coffee making)?
    16 October 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    I am a permanent member of staff who work shifts over 7 days. we have seasonal contract hours (April…
    16 October 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SafeWorkers website. Please read our Disclaimer.