Noise in the Workplace - CSP, Acoustics Consultants Scotland


Noise in the Workplace

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.

Services we can provide as part of Noise in the Workplace include...

Control of Noise at Work Assessments

CSPA will carry out surveys of workplace noise levels and in conjunction with the workplace management prepare assessments of noise exposures for those carrying out different tasks within the workplace. These assessments then lead on to recommendations, where required, to mitigate noise exposures and where these cannot be sufficiently reduced to comply with the requirements to the selection and recommendation of personal hearing protection equipment and production of the required Control of Noise at Work reports.

Reduction of Noise at Work Exposures

It is no longer permissible to simply provide hearing protection to those working in noisy environments – the regulations now require that a series of measures are explored and implemented wherever possible to reduce the noise levels to as low a level as is reasonably practicable, before consideration is given to the use of personal hearing protectors.

Guidance and Health Surveillance of the Workforce

One of the reasons that workers can be exposed to excessive and damaging noise is a result of their lack of understanding of the potential long-term effects of noise on their hearing. The Regulations therefore require that guidance on these issues is presented to the workforce by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience.

Do you have noisy work places?

Contact CSPA for help with Noise at Work issues and to make sure that you aren’t risking your employees hearing.

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