The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
Making sure you’re protected in noisy working environments
Many industrial sectors most commonly expose people to the risk of accidents and physical injuries, which employers tend to overlook. Something that many dismiss or find easy to forget about is the protection of our hearing if we work in certain industries involving heavy-duty, loud machinery or any other particular equipment, whether it is now and again or more regular.
If you are exposed to any type of noise daily or on a weekly basis in work, you must be protected by your employer from any damage, such as industrial deafness, noise-induced hearing loss, Tinnitus or traumas like a perforated eardrum.
Replacing the conventions from 1989, the Control of Noise at work Regulations 2005 took effect in the UK in 2006 for protection against lower levels of noise in all industrial sectors, except for the music and entertainment industry, which were established later in 2008. Unfortunately, many employees are not looked after in the workplace and are left to suffer or become more susceptible to injuries, especially serious cases of hearing loss.
What Control of Noise at Work Regulations are in place to protect me?
The sole purpose of these regulations is to protect everyone’s health and safety with regards to hearing during work. They cover any noise and take into account the level and amount of time that the employer is exposed to it. It is common for employers to be lax with the regulations and keeping on top of noise risk assessments, so it is vital to be aware of them yourself. If employers have breached their 'duty of care' to you, then you may have a claim. Here are some of the main Noise at Work Regulations:
- Regular risk assessments should be carried out by the employer; particularly if there has been a change in terms of noise, or if there is suspicion of the current assessment not being up-to-date.
- Should there be any risks, employers are expected to keep workers safe by ensuring the provision of hearing protection, professional knowledge and health and safety training on the matter. Even those who are not employees but are present in the noisy work environment, including contractors, should be protected by the employer.
- Any changes to be made on completing a noise risk assessment should be recorded and addressed immediately by the employer, ensuring that any risks are removed or significantly reduced.
- It is also the responsibility of the employee to make good, correct use of the hearing protectors provided and inform the employer of any problems with such equipment.
- The Noise at Work Regulations have three levels of noise limits for daily or weekly exposure:
The Lower Exposure Action Value (80 decibels for personal noise exposure; 135 dB for peak sound pressure) – even if noise or pressure reach these ‘lower’ levels, then your employer is still at duty to carry out an assessment and take action in reducing any risks, meeting the policies of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005. At this level, information and health and safety training must be provided to staff. People exposed to these levels of noise and sound pressure are those who operate work vehicles, such as tractor cabs in agriculture and insulation workers.
The Upper Exposure Action Value (85 dB for personal noise exposure and 137 dB for peak sound pressure) – if noise increases to or exceeds this level, then the employers are under an obligation to take care of you by designating protected areas (known as Hearing Protection Zones) and hearing protectors. Occupations involving this level or exceeding it include construction workers, electricians and jobs in the demolition industry.
Exceeding these, the Exposure Limit Value is set at 87 dB for personal noise exposure and 140 dB for peak sound pressure. This is the maximum limit while considering the reduction of any noise for those wearing hearing protectors. The Noise at Work Regulations states that this level must not be exceeded and regardless of staff wearing protectors, they must not be exposed to anything above this. People who are involved in welding, cutting equipment and any consistent use of drills or electric saws are at risk of being exposed to this level.
- If any employee suffers hearing damage, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they are seen by a doctor or health specialist straight away, so make sure you inform them of any injuries straight away.
How can Accident Line Direct help me make an industrial deafness claim?
If you feel like any of these Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 have been breached by your employer, leading you to suffer from any hearing traumas at work, get in touch with Accident Line Direct to speak to our team for advice on making a No Win No Fee claim and seeking the compensation you deserve.