Control of Noise at Work Regulations come into force for music and entertainment

Monday, 21st Apr '08 at 12:59

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations) will come into force for the music and entertainment sectors on 6th April bringing them in line with all other sectors where the regulations have been in force since April 2006. The noise regulations will now apply to pubs and clubs, amplified live music events, orchestras and other premises where live music or recorded music is played (see editors notes).

Thousands of people are exposed to loud noise at work, with 170,000 people in the UK suffering deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions, as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work. These regulations aim to ensure workers’ hearing is protected from excessive noise at work, implement a European Commission Directive, and replace the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

The regulations will introduce the following changes:

  • the level at which employers must ensure hearing protection is worn and where necessary hearing protection zones are signposted is now 85 decibels daily or weekly average exposure and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers' health and provide them with information and training and access to hearing protection should they wish to use it is now 80 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure).
  • there is also an exposure limit value of 87 decibels, taking account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection, above which workers must not be exposed.

The regulations will require employers to:

  • assess the risks to employees from noise at work;
  • take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks;
  • provide employees with hearing protection if it is not possible to reduce the noise exposure enough using other methods;
  • make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
  • provide employees with information, instruction and training;
  • carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.

Employees will have a duty to comply with the measures their employers introduce under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations in accordance with his or her instructions. This includes using control measures where present, wearing hearing protection when required; taking care of hearing protection and noise control equipment provided and reporting any defects or difficulties in using them. Employees also have a duty to present themselves during working hours for health surveillance where this is required.

Further information can be found by visiting: http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/musicsound.htm

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