Noise in the Workplace

Debbie AnstisPosted 2 June 2017 By Debbie Anstis, Health & Safety Consultant In Charity Construction Contractors Environmental Health & Safety Leisure and Tourism Manufacturing Rural and Landed Estates

Every day, more than 1 million employees are exposed to excessive noise which puts their hearing at risk in the UK. The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) reports that 29,000 people annually suffer from deafness, ringing in their ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work.

As staff cannot see the danger of noise, it is not seen as an instant risk and the gradual effect is not always appreciated, as hearing deteriorates when noise damages the microscopic hairs in the inner ear. However, the loss of hearing will often have a huge effect on staff both at work and socially.

Prevention is the best way to deal with this issue, and while employers have a duty of care to protect staff, employees must also play a vital role in protecting their own hearing. Employees in high noise environments, such as processing or manufacturing, will often be more aware of the basic need for protection. However, staff working in environments with periodic excessive noise, may not have an awareness of the issue. This is where education, training and reinforcement of the message is vital.

Remember, if you can’t hear another staff member within a two-metre radius, you need to think about hearing protection in the workplace.

Comfort and practicality are key. Ensure that any protection equipment provided is comfortable and easy to use. If it is, it will more likely be used and kept on for the required length of time. If not, it will be left unworn, leaving the staff exposed to high levels of risk.

To discuss this or anything else, please email Debbie Anstis or Peta Fry, or give them a call on 01793 818300.

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