Unchecked noise levels at work can lead to hearing loss
Anyone who has seen the latest figures of civil claims for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) will appreciate the scale of the problem. The Institute of Actuaries’ latest estimate is that around 80,000 new claims were made in the last year in the UK, representing a substantial increase from the previous year. In fact, according to Insurance Times, the figures are likely to be much higher, at around 100,000 cases. The volume of claims sent to the government’s Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) has risen from just 5,519 in 2010 to 25,047 - a 354% increase.
It is clear that, if successful, these claims represent potentially a huge strain on a company's finances and their reputation. It is worth noting also the administration charges incurred for each case whether successful or not which have to be paid and the time involved in dealing with each new case.
The most effective way to combat this is by managing effectively the risk loud noise poses to the workers’ hearing, which is where occupational health and safety has an essential role to play.
Employers have a duty to protect employees from noise
Employers have a duty to protect employees from noise under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005).
As an employer or a safety and health expert, you need to:
- Acquaint yourself with the Law and your duties under the Regulations
- Determine whether you have a problem if you operate a noisy business or machinery
- Decide what action is needed by carrying out a risk assessment and develop a suitable plan of action
- Become aware of your workers’ daily personal noise exposure and likely peak sound pressure levels to which they are exposed e.g. ‘how loud’ and ‘how long’
- Understand what ‘Lower exposure action value’ and ‘Upper exposure action value’ are and mean
- Comply with the legal limits on the levels of noise to which workers may be exposed
- Take action in proportion to the level of risk – control and reduce the risks
An effective noise measurement strategy is essential
Noise exposure measurement will be invaluable when assessing the risk as well as identifying where efforts should be directed in and around the premises and how urgently. If carried out with the right noise measurement technology, it will provide you with the assurance that controls in place are working. Results can then be used to inform workers that they are protected according to the Law or identify any slippages such as, for example, the incorrect use of PPE.
Above all, an effective noise measurement strategy will help reduce the number of cases for noise-induced hearing loss as a result of exposure to un-necessary high levels of noise in the workplace.
Pulsar Instruments are experts when it comes to controlling noise at work and providing compliant and reliable noise measurement products for use by safety and health experts in a work environment.
To discuss how Pulsar Instruments’ noise measurement products and services will benefit your health and safety strategy, simply contact our team on 01723 518011 and we will be happy to help or email your requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download here our latest FREE Employers' Guide to Controlling Workplace Noise packed with invaluable advice.