Employers have vital part to play to meet new noise rules

Employers urged to ensure they are meeting recently introduced noise laws designed to protect staff.

Employers will have to play a more critical role under new Control of Noise at Work Regulations, introduced in April, delegates heard at last week’s Arborists’ Trade Fair in Gloucestershire. Stihl GB technical services manager Hans Fairley emphasised the vital part that employers would have to play to keep within the law, which sets a limit beyond which employees should not be exposed. He said the main difference between the new and old regulations was that the new law cuts the level at which action needs to be taken to 80dB. At 80dB, employers must assess their employees’ exposure, provide them with information about risks of noise and make hearing protection available. At 85dB employers must introduce health surveillance, ensure that hearing protection is worn, introduce a programme of control measures and designate hearing-protection zones. The new upper limit is 87dB. To meet requirements employers must know the sound pressure level of a machine and the amount of time it is being used as the two together are used in calculating exposure to noise. The two-day Arborists’ Trade Fair was the biggest yet, with 86 exhibitors. Visitor numbers were expected to be around 8,200. * See www.hse.gov.uk/noise for an interactive noise calculator

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