One of the thrusts of current HSE initiatives regarding construction and industrial Health and Safety is with regard to noise induced hearing loss – a significant health issue for many who work in noisy (and not so noisy) environments. Long-term exposure to high levels of noise can result in significant loss of hearing in later life – including an inability to clearly hear conversations and listen to music, theatre, film and TV. Every employer who generates excessive (which can seem like relatively modest amounts) noise in their workplaces – including on construction sites – has now to take steps to reduce the exposure of their workforce to noise and to monitor that exposure. The same applies to exposure to Hand Arm Vibration (HAV), which can also cause serious damage to fingers and hands, including loss of sensitivity and dexterity from even modest use of (for example) hand tools over long periods of time. As Noise and Vibration sources are often one and the same it can be useful to tackle both when carrying out Noise at Work Assessments.
Increasingly insurance companies are requiring evidence that The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) are being complied with and CSPA has been advising not only on levels of exposure, but also on how exposure levels can be reduced at source, or in the workspace, or by reducing exposure time (the first steps in control of noise before use of ear plugs or hearing defenders) as well as providing their workforce with education about noise in the workplace. Equally there is growing concern to reduce the effects of HAV and CSPA can help employers with these concerns and assist them in ensuring that their employees do not incur irreversible damage to hands or hearing as a result of their daily work.