Noise induced hearing loss
Providing employees with information,
instruction and training
Noise induced
hearing loss
If employees are exposed above the lower action value,
employers must ensure they understand the risks. This
includes outlining the risk to their hearing and the steps
the company is taking to reduce the risk; how to obtain
and use hearing protection; and the health surveillance
systems in place.
out annually for the first two years of employment,
then every three years. More frequent testing is
required in high risk environments or where hearing
damage is identified.
For more information visit Allianz’s Risk Director.
Carrying out health surveillance
Turn it down!
Taking action to reduce noise exposure
Hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work is a
significant occupational disease, with around 170,000
people in the UK suffering deafness, tinnitus or other
ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise
at work.
If an employer identifies a risk they must take action to
reduce the noise exposure wherever possible. This action
could take many different forms. For example, where
the noise is from machinery it might be possible to
reduce the noise through servicing, replacing worn
parts or fitting engineering controls such as silencers
or anti-vibration mounts. In some instances it may
even be sensible to replace it with something that
makes less noise.
Claims against employers have risen significantly in the
last two years. This reflects the number of sufferers, but
also the wide range of industries affected and just as
importantly the lack of records to help show whether
employers took appropriate steps or not.
Noise induced hearing loss is completely preventable.
It‘s important to take steps to protect employee’s
hearing but also to record these steps and ensure they
are adhered to on the factory floor or construction
site to help your clients defend actions against them.
Where there is a risk to employees’ hearing, an employer
must provide regular hearing checks in controlled
conditions. These checks need to be carried out by
someone with appropriate training, for instance an
occupational health professional, and must be carried
Providing hearing protection
Where the noise exposure cannot be reduced,
employers are required to provide hearing protection
such as ear defenders. These must be properly
maintained and training provided to ensure that
employees use them correctly.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 requires
employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and
safety from exposure to noise at work. This involves the
following steps:
It must also be remembered that this should not be
regarded as an alternative to controlling noise by
technical or organisational means.
Assessing the risk to employees
from noise at work
Making sure the legal limits
are not exceeded
A risk assessment will involve taking measurements of
noise levels and comparing them against the exposure
action and exposure limit values (see ‘levels of noise’
box). In addition, where a risk from noise is identified,
employers need to identify where this risk is; who is likely
to be affected and what needs to be done to comply
with the law. It will also identify employees where the
exposure means that they require health surveillance.
The regulations set limits at which employers must take
specific action (see ‘levels of noise’ box). The lower and
upper exposure action values relate to an average daily
or weekly exposure and a maximum noise level, which is
known as the peak sound pressure.
Noise at work - levels of noise
Daily or weekly exposure
Peak sound pressure
Lower exposure action value
Upper exposure action value
Exposure limit values (level of noise
which must not be exceeded)
In addition the regulations include levels of noise
exposure which must not be exceeded - the exposure
limit values.
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