Employers in the horticulture industry must meet tighter noise regulations from February next year or they will face criminal prosecution or civil action.
The warning came from Kenneth Hill, managing director of occupational health consultancy HSE Solutions, who addressed delegates at Scotsturf, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) show in Edinburgh last week.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations bring “a substantial change in exposure levels”, said Hill. It will increase the onus on employers to monitor workplace noise and to train and inform staff to reduce exposure to it.
The regulations rank workplace noise in three levels (see panel). At level one, employers need to make employees aware of noise levels and measures to reduce them, and provide ear defenders and training.
At the second level, the employer will have to take action to reduce noise and to identify “hearing conservation zones”, where ear protection must be worn.
At level three, the employer must take immediate action to reduce the noise.
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