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What steps are you taking to protect your team from Noise Exposure?

Health and safety consultant Jamie Douglas gives his top tips on employers’ responsibilities under The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (CNWR) which aim to protect people from noise-induced hearing loss which is irreversible damage to the ears caused by exposure to high levels of noise.

25 May 2022

Jamie Douglas, one of our expert Health & Safety Consultants, who works with clients in many industries says one issue that crops up across the board and gets overlooked, is protecting the workforce from noise exposure.

Below are some of Jamie’s tips and advice on employers’ responsibilities under The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (CNWR) which aim to protect people from noise-induced hearing loss which is irreversible damage to the ears caused by exposure to high levels of noise.

When an ear is subjected to hazardous noise, if hair cells get bent over to the point they can’t spring back, that’s when hearing loss occurs. Moderately loud sounds over an extended period of time can also lead to hearing loss.

1. Assess the risks to your employees from noise at work

Assessing the risk is a good starting point for employers. It allows the opportunity to identify activities that have the most risk. When assessing the risk, it’s also important to identify who is risk. This can be the anyone from the person carrying out the task to people in the area, such as visitors and customers. As an employer, you should create a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk from the noise exposure to the health and safety of those employees.

2. Take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks

The risk from exposure to noise should be either eliminated at source, or reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. Where exposure is at or above an upper EAV, the levels should be reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable by establishing and implementing a programme of organisational and technical measures, other than PPE.

3. Provide your employees with hearing protection if you cannot reduce the noise exposure enough by using other methods

If the employer is unable to reduce the levels of noise to which an employee is likely to be exposed to by other means, they must provide personal hearing protectors to any employee who is so exposed. Selecting the right PHP (Personal hearing protection) is important, and you can use the manufacturers guidance for assistance on this. Employees with medical conditions should be taken into consideration when selecting PHP, as certain PHP may be an issue for certain employees.

4. Maintenance and use of equipment

Anything provided by the employer under these Regulations (other than personal hearing protectors) must be fully and properly used. It must also be well maintained to an efficient state and in efficient working order.

5. Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health

Undertake health surveillance for those employees exposed, this includes a hearing test. It’s important to keep a suitable health record for each employee. Ensure this is well documented and maintained. Following health surveillance, if an employee is found to have identifiable hearing damage, they should be examined by a doctor or specialist.

6. Provide your employees with information, instruction and training

Where employees are exposed to noise or are likely to be exposed to noise, employers should provide them with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training. They must Explain the risks of noise exposure, the organisational and technical measures in place, how to identify signs of hearing damage, and the availability of PHP within the company etc.

About Jamie

From a military family, Jamie grew up all over the UK, so he’s used to a fast-paced, shifting environment!

He fell into the health and safety industry after finishing his A-levels at college, by taking an admin role at the company his dad worked for with the intention of working his way up.

Flashforward 6 years and he’s working as a consultant and has worked at Emprocom for just over a year.

He’s currently working towards his NEBOSH Diploma and hoping to have it completed by the back end of the year.

His role at Emprocom

As a health and safety consultant, his work covers anything health and safety-related other than construction, although he does site visits and CDM work for CDM contracts sometimes.

His client base varies a lot, from engineering, steel fabrication, all kinds of tradesmen (electricians, joiners & plumbers), some simply have business’ that just run from an office. The majority of his work comes from carrying out annual audits, producing paperwork for clients, and assisting them with accreditations such as CHAS and Safe Contractor.

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