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Noisy workplace? Listen up!

Noise induced hearing loss can be a devastating result of working in a noisy environment.  Employees hearing is affected by developing tinnitus and reduced ability to hear at specific frequencies.  Any damage to hearing is permanent and irreversible.  It will NEVER get better.

For employers the financial impact of failing to protect employees from noise hazards at work can be massive.  Failure to address this can lead to civil claims, and/or criminal prosecution and the impact this can have on your EL insurance cover.  Indeed many employers are still liable for civil claims for employees who may have left the Company’s employment many years ago.  So how can you protect your employees and your business?

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations was reviewed in 2005 and require employers to take a number of measures.  The main requirements kick in when noise exposure exceeds 85 decibels.  Briefly, employers at this point have to do the following:

  • Carry out a survey of noise levels employees exposed to and an assessment of risk;
  • Provide information, instruction and training to employees on the means to protect their hearing and symptoms of hearing loss;
  • Take action to eliminate, or reduce noise levels at work;
  • Issue hearing protection which is suitable and the means to store and maintain it properly; and
  • Provide health surveillance in the form of hearing tests.

Hearing tests must be provided to all employees exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels, and to susceptible employees who are exposed to noise levels above 80 decibels.  Susceptible employees may be employees who have suffered some form of hearing injury or illness, etc.

Employers by law are expected to provide baseline checks to gauge hearing levels of new employees, routine checks at prescribed intervals and ProAktive recommend checks are made for employees who are about to leave the Company.  ProAktive have for many years been assisting employers with dealing with noise hazards and carrying out noise surveys and risk assessments.  However we are pleased to offer a new service by providing hearing tests to employees so employers can comply with their legal duties and provide advice and support should problems be identified.

For more help please call ProAktive on 01302 341344 and ask to speak to Simon Walsh or Ken Stevens.

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