Maintaining healthy hearing is important because unlike your trade tools, once damaged, it cannot be replaced. Often neglected, your hearing will take some abuse for so long but gradually, it will become affected, and will get worse and worse, often without being detected. This is why maintaining a healthy hearing regime, and preventing the risk of damage from harmful levels of noise before it occurs, is so crucial.
In recent months, noise-induced hearing loss has received a lot of attention both nationally and internationally thanks to various awareness campaigns. It now features higher up on the safety agenda in the workplace but also in the consciousness of (most) workers.
There are many ways to be mindful of what can affect hearing damage in a work environment. We have listed below 5 ways to get involved and improve noise safety at work.
1- Take noise awareness training seriously
In recent years, there has been more focus on raising awareness of noise-induced hearing loss but it still remains one of the most commonly reported work-related injuries around the world. Often noise, and its impact on health, will be ignored so any training will make a big difference. Delivering regular toolbox talks about individual responsibilities, symptoms of hearing loss, where to obtain hearing protection and how to report defects in hearing protection and noise-control equipment will be useful.
2- Educate line managers
The action of line managers and supervisors will be a major factor in the success or failure of your hearing safety strategy. Line managers need to lead by example. If they don’t put a value on prevention by using hearing protection or by taking a break from a noisy environment themselves, it is more likely that their employees will behave in a similar way. Line managers need to be confident about their responsibilities and to intervene whenever they observe employees that are not respecting procedures. They should be encouraged to attend formal training on their legal duties, how to implement controls and conduct noise measurements to meet compliance under the Regulations.
3- Understand your legal duties and more
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. Both employers and employees must be clear of their responsibilities. Regulations are one thing but human factors also need to be recognised in all of this. For example factors such as frustration, fatigue and complacency can all have a contributory effect on hearing damage as they will prevent workers from following procedures correctly.
4- Assess the risk from noise
Be pro-active. Decide what you need to do to ensure the health and safety of employees who are exposed to noise by taking noise measurements. It will be essential for you to show that your estimate of employees’ exposure is representative of the work that they do and based on reliable information. All findings will need to be recorded and reviewed if circumstances change and affect noise exposures. These include installing new machinery, moving existing plant/machinery around and changing shift patterns.
5- Keep your employees informed
Your employees need to understand the risks they may be exposed to, especially if they are exposed to noise levels that require action on your part. Tell them what you are doing to control risks and exposure and where they can obtain hearing protection. Developing a good communication strategy around noise safety at work will go a long way to reducing hearing damage.
What are the next steps for your business?
As experts in industrial noise measurement products, and having first-hand experience in helping safety professionals just like you get ahead with workplace noise measurements, we are perfectly positioned to help you prevent the risk of damage from harmful levels of noise before it occurs.
Why not call us today on 01723 518011?
For more noise safety at work tips and advice, make sure to check our blog on a regular basis.