According to the HSE, an estimated 170,000 people in the UK suffer noise induced hearing loss, tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears), temporary or permanent threshold shift or other acoustic trauma conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work.
All industry sectors are required to comply with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, which came into force in April 2006.
Employers must ensure that policies and controls are implemented in the workplace to reduce the employees’ risk of excessive noise exposure.
To ensure that employees are protected from excessive noise in their place of work, an assessment of their exposure to noise must be made by a competent person to identify those at risk, determine exposure levels and implement noise reduction and control measures where necessary.
A suitable and sufficient risk assessment must be undertaken for those liable to be exposed to a noise level at or above a lower exposure action value.
The results of the assessment can be compared to the exposure action values and exposure limit value, as defined by the regulations. If any employee is likely to be exposed to noise at or above an upper exposure action value, the employer must then eliminate the noise at source or reduce exposure to as low a level as is reasonably practicable by establishing and implementing a programme of organisational and technical measures.
Occupational Noise Assessments
SOCOTEC’s qualified occupational hygienists use the latest high-specification instrumentation and offer services throughout the UK, which includes:
- Dosemeters worn by a subject (particularly if the person is highly mobile), which can continuously monitor noise exposure for later transfer to a PC and data interpretation.
- Sound level meters conforming to Type 1 Specification of BS EN 60651: 1994, used for fixed-point measurements, measurements close to the operator, and for octave band frequency analysis and a hearing protection suitability assessment.
- Calibrators for checking instrument accuracy
SOCOTEC issue fully-comprehensive reports of all measurements taken, interpreted against current legislation. Where necessary, advice and recommendations are given, including:
- Advising you on the requirements of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations;
- Immediate actions to reduce noise exposure
- Immediate actions to control noise exposure
- Selection of suitable hearing protection, based on octave band frequency analysis
- Noise zoning by mapping of the noise measurements, should these levels be consistent
For further information about SOCOTEC’s Occupational Noise Assessments, please contact us.