New noise regulations for UK industry
12 June 2006, News release from AES
New noise regulations introduced in April will have more stringent exposure limits of 80 and 85dB(A). Companies who previously did not create sufficient noise to be affected may well now come within this scope.
Larger companies, with just a proportion of the workforce above the limits, will probably find that most if not all locations will be above the new action levels.
AES Senior Occupational Hygiene Consultant, John Hall, explains:
"These new noise regulations are the latest instalment of the European Physical Agents Directive, implemented by HSE through the Noise at Work Regulations 2005."
"It is becoming increasingly important for Health and Safety Managers to keep up to date with this tightening legislation which promises to have a massive impact on industry in the Uk."
Noise exposure and hand-arm vibration can have major health impacts.
Exposure to excessive noise at work can cause employess to suffer from deafness, tinnitus and other hearing problems.
Hand-arm vibration can cause 'white finger' which is a vascular circulation problem.
The table below demonstrates the key differences for the Physical Agents Directive.
|Provision||1989 Noise Regulations||2005 Noise Regulations|
|Reduce risk||To lowest level reasonably practicible||Eliminated at source or reduced to a minimum|
|Assess exposure||85 dB(A) and 200Pa||80 dB(A) and 112Pa|
|Assessment period||8 hours||8 hours or one week (where noise exposure varies from day to day, it can be averaged over a week)|
|Provide information and training to workers and their representatives||85 dB(A) and 200Pa||80 dB(A) and 112Pa|
|Workers rights to hearing checks / audiometric testing||85 dB(A) by or under the responsibility of a doctor||85 dB(A) by or under the responsibility of a doctor. To be available at 80 dB(A) and 112Pa where risk is indicated|
|Health surveillance||Provisions to ensure appropriate health surveillance where risk is indicated|
|Make hearing protection available||85 dB(A) and 200Pa||80 dB(A) and 112Pa|
|Hearing protection to be worn||90 dB(A) and 200Pa||85 dB(A) and 140Pa selected to eliminate risk or reduce to a minimum|
|Limit on exposure||87 dB(A) and 200Pa at the ear (allowing protection to be taken into account)|
|Programme of control measures||90 dB(A) and 200Pa||85 dB(A) and 140Pa|
|Delimit areas, put up signs and control access||Where reasonably practicable 90 dB(A) and 200Pa||85 dB(A) and 140Pa where technically feasible and the risk of exposure so justifies|
Hashimoto lead the response from industry
Japanese automotive part manufacturer, Hashimoto Ltd, were quick to realise the importance of these new regulations on the 500 strong workforce at their UK headquarters in Boldon, Tyne and Wear.
Stuart Wilson, Health & Safety Manager, Hashimoto Ltd explains 'We were aware of the changes in legislation due in April and were keen to quantify the situation here. We do have a number of quite obviously noisy areas but wanted to clearly understand what level of protection was required and where.'
AES worked with Hashimoto to undertake a full noise survey of the site between January and March this year.
This involved a full site survey by John Hall, Senior Occupational Hygiene Consultant, using static and personal dose tests, and a mobile test with a noise meter. Hashimoto modified their hearing protection policy as a result of the survey with all production areas classified as mandatory hearing protection zones. Stuart adds 'the level of service we have come to expect from AES is fantastic.'
AES have worked with Hashimoto for a number of years to monitor stack emissions and look after water systems. For further information please email AES