Pulsar Instruments plc

Pulsar noise testing equipment for workplace sector - Health and Safety - Noise and Vibration

Workplace noise monitoring is an interesting subject that can appear complex, but it is always worth remembering what you are trying to achieve. This can be summarised as: ““Minimising or avoiding the risk of noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace to comply with local, noise-based, legislation”” Such legislation is usually based on a European Directive that is then modified to suit the needs of each particular country. For example, in the United Kingdom, the ‘The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005’ are based on the European Union Directive 2003/10/EC; usually called “The physical agents (noise)” directive and expanded upon by the Health & Safety Executive.

In the UK, research estimates that over 2 million people are exposed to noise levels at work that may be harmful. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations 2005) require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. It is worth noting that employees have duties under the Regulations too.

How to protect the workers and meet the regulations?
The first action should be to obtain and read your national regulations and any advice leaflet. In the UK both can be found in the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) booklet L108 ‘Controlling noise in the workplace. This gives excellent and accurate advice in clearly marked sections. The data in the HSE booklet applies all over the European Union and is one of the best guides available in the English language.

Firstly you need to establish if you do, or do not, have a noise problem in each of your main areas or work zones. There are a number of simple rules to determine this (click link here or see article below). However to be absolutely safe, even if you are sure you do not have a noise problem, you would be advised to perform and document some simple noise measurements to provide long term evidence of your basic workplace noise assessment.

Employers who do not realise how serious industrial deafness is and who may have inadvertently ignored the regulations may be facing significant claims in future by employees for noise-induced hearing loss. There is no way of bringing back the hearing of workers affected, but future claims can be avoided by limiting the exposure to noise of staff.