Where are we now?
We live in strange times! The Control of Noise at Work regulations came into effect in April 2006 following the adoption of the European Directive 2003/10/EC. The initiative was developed over time to protect workers’ hearing. Indeed the HSE estimates that around 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work. The same regulations may now have become a new profit source for ambulance-chasing legal companies.
Employers who did not realise how serious industrial deafness is and who may have inadvertently ignored the regulations may now be facing significant claims by employees for noise-induced hearing loss. There is no way to bring back the hearing of workers affected, but future claims can be avoided by limiting the exposure of your staff.
Impact of the regulations on Exposure Action Values – A reminder
Part of the regulations that came into being at that time was to lower the then Exposure Action Values. These now stand at 80dB(A) for the lower exposure value and 85dB(A) for the upper value. A new value known as the Exposure Limit Value (ELV) was introduced and translated into a set daily or weekly personal noise exposure (LEP,d or PEP,w) of 87dB(A) and peak noise (LCpeak) of 140dB(C). If this limit is exceeded, the employer must take immediate appropriate action to bring the exposure below this level.
A range of noise measurement instruments to help employers
Pulsar Instruments Plc, dedicated to industrial noise measurement for over 40 years, have designed and manufactured a series of 21st-century tools to help industries. The simplest is the low-cost PulsarSafeEar‘ noise warning sign that warns everyone when noise levels are too high. Over time, noise levels can creep up and the SafeEar will warn if this is happening. The SafeEar can also record the levels for protection against claims. Pulsar also provides simple low-cost sound level meters to carry out quick noise surveys as well as more professional tools.
The main weapon is probably the noise Pulsar doseBadge. This remarkable unit is so tiny that it can be mounted on the shoulder and monitors the workers hearing second by second over every working shift. The data is stored internally and can be simply read at the end of each shift or transferred to a PC to both provide a record for the HSE and allow the company to do analysis of the noise. The doseBadge can be accompanied by a range of precision integrating sound level meters that allow a competent person to investigate the noise, INCLUDING the selection of appropriate hearing protection.
The company is set to launch a new range of sound level meters, the Pulsar Nova™ next month which will offer safety professionals and employers the highest level of performance in a wide range of noise measurement applications to help prevent hearing loss at work.
Simply, Pulsar Instruments are the sound investment.
Do you have any questions about Noise at Work? Are you looking for help and advice on workplace noise measurement? Pulsar have a wide range of sound level meters, noise dosemeters, noise warning signs suitable for your industry. Please ring our team of experts on 01723 518011 or send us your enquiry.
Find out more about the Noise at Work Regulations.