Workplace Noise Assessment
By law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise so that you can protect the hearing of your employees.
Where the risks identified by your noise assessment are low, the actions you take may be simple and inexpensive, but where the risks are high, you should manage them using a prioritised noise-control action plan.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force on the 6th April 2006. The Regulations tighten the legal requirements in relation to noise by lowering the exposure action values to 80 and 85 dB(A). Whilst this may not appear to be a large change it is important to realise every 3 dB doubles the noise, so what might seem like small differences in the numbers can be quite significant in the sound levels.
The Regulations require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work and in particular to:
- assess the risks to employees from noise at work;
- take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks;
- provide employees with hearing protection if they cannot reduce the noise exposure enough by using other methods;
- make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
- provide employees with information, instruction and training;
- carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.