As part of Noise Action Week (23rd to 27th May 2011) Cirrus Research, a leading expert in the design and production of noise measurement instruments, is urging companies and workers alike to be extra vigilant when it comes to managing noise at work.
According to HSE statistics it is estimated that approximately 1.7 million workers are exposed to noise above levels considered safe and it is estimated that around 21,000 individuals who worked in 2009/2010 suffered hearing problems as a result of their occupation2.
James Tingay comments: “For people who have been blessed with the five senses it is of course important for them to be protected throughout their life. Unfortunately, many individuals do not realise the damage that noise in the workplace can do to their hearing and in many cases once the damage has been done, it is irreversible. It is therefore pivotal that both employees and employers are vigilant and utilise the necessary noise prevention methods available.”
Work place noise may be defined as ‘unwanted’ sound, for example machinery, traffic and aircraft noise. Exposure to loud and prolonged noise such as these, could damage an individual’s hearing; this damage may result in temporary and/or permanent deafness.
In an attempt to reduce hearing damage at work, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 was introduced – this was designed to protect hearing as well as prevent noise nuisance. If a worker’s daily exposure exceeds 80dB(A) then, although not compulsory, it is considered beneficial that hearing protection be worn; if the dose exceeds 85dB(A) then it is mandatory that hearing protection be used.
The importance of noise control in the work environment is becoming an increasingly recognised and widely discussed issue, with employers being expected to measure the level of noise in the workplace so that appropriate preventative action or protective equipment can be introduced. Noise measurement instruments allow the simple measurement of sounds within the work environment. To simplify the process of purchasing a noise measurement instrument, Cirrus Research has produced an eight point guide with advice on how to ensure the best choice of noise measurement tools for the relevant application, this guide also outlines some of the issues that need to be considered even after the equipment has been purchased. This is available to download from its website.
James continues: “Noise Action Week is all about raising awareness of the impacts of noise and promoting the simple measures that can be taken to prevent noise problems. Whilst organisations have a duty of care when workers’ noise exposure exceeds certain action values it is vital that both parties remain vigilant and aware of the problem. Continuous noise assessments need to take place, preventative action implemeted and the maintenance and accurate application of the necessary devices is crucial to ensure noise enduced hearing loss is kept to a minimum within the workplace. Remember once hearing has been lost it can never come back!”
For further information please contact Cirrus Research on 0845 230 2434 or visit www.cirrusresearch.co.uk.