When is music too loud?
Key points and responsibility of the entertainment industry towards controlling noise at work
Entertainment Noise, the Music Industry and the LawSince April 2008, the entertainment industry has fallen under ‘The Control of Noise at Work Regulations' (2005). This recognises music as a "deliberate noise created for entertainment purposes", so robust and practical noise exposure guidelines are required to ensure the safety of those employees exposed to the music. Owners and operators of venues are under legal obligation not to expose their workforce to excessive and potentially harmful noise levels from sources such as headphones, speakers or even acoustic instruments. It follows that offering the correct means of protection to staff and artists in the music and entertainment industry will not only help them keep their hearing, but their careers too. The Noise Regulations cover a variety of music and entertainment sectors where live music is played or recorded, including pubs, nightclubs and other venues such as concert halls. Employees in these environments that are covered under the legislation include bar and floor staff such as glass collectors, musicians, security personnel as well as self-employed workers. The public, however, do not fall under the same legislation, so separating staff and customers will help to keep the punters who want the music louder away from the employees who must be protected.
Responsibility of the Entertainment Industry towards controlling Noise at WorkIt is up to the venue operator to appoint a qualified member of staff to ensure that they comply with the necessary regulations at all times. The most important factor that they will need to consider is not simply just how loud the noise is, but the proximity to and the amount of time employees' are subjected to it in their working environment. Noise is measured using decibels, or dB for short, with an ‘A' weighted frequency filter applied by the sound measurement instrument to replicate the response of the human ear. The most common way of measuring occupational noise levels is with a sound level meter or decibel meter compliant with the latest industry regulations, namely IEC 61672-1, or a noise dosimeter meeting IEC 61252. Some operators try an use a very cheap non-compliant sound meter that may be priced as little as 10% of the cost of an approved one, but such units may have such high measurement errors that they will not identify where there may be a risk from noise and who is likely to be affected. Specific action must be taken at certain limit values:
|Lower exposure action values||Daily or weekly exposure of 80dB(A) Peak sound pressure of 135dB|
|Upper exposure action values||Daily or weekly exposure of 85dB(A) Peak sound pressure of 137dB|
|Levels of noise exposure which must not be exceeded||Daily or weekly exposure of 87dB(A) Peak sound pressure of 140dB|