Noise

Hearing Loss caused by work is preventable, but once your hearing has gone it will not come back. There are in excess of 17,000 people in the UK that suffer from deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions cause by excessive noise at work.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 provides a legal framework to protect people from the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace

What is Noise?

The Regulations define noise as ‘any audible sound’ and in non legal terms it is usually defined as ‘any unwanted sound’.

National Services Scotland

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 provides a legal framework to protect people from the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace

The Regulations define noise as ‘any audible sound’ and in non legal terms it is usually defined as ‘any unwanted sound’.

If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety 

NHS 24

NHS 24 is committed to complying with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. Below you will find a noise risk assessment to be used along with our Control of Noise at Work Policy to reduce both long and short term noise induced hearing loss.

NHS Golden Jubilee

Noise at Work Guidance

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 provides a legal framework to protect people from the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace.

Public Health Scotland

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 provides a legal framework to protect people from the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace

The Regulations define noise as ‘any audible sound’ and in non legal terms it is usually defined as ‘any unwanted sound’.

If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety 

Scottish Ambulance Service

The Scottish Ambulance Service is committed to complying with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.  This policy gives detail of how harm can be caused to the human condition by noise and gives detail of how that harm can be recognised and controlled to within safe limits, in so far as is reasonably practicable.

    • What types of hearing protection is available?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      There are three types of hearing protection. 

      • Earmuffs/defenders that completely cover the ear. 
      • Ear plugs that are inserted into the ear canal. 
      • Semi inserts (also called canal caps) which cover the entrance of the ear canal. 

      Hearing protection must be worn by anyone who is likely to be exposed to noise at or above the Exposure Action Level set by the control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 

      If you feel that you work within an area which you feel requires additional PPE, please discuss this within your Line Manger and refer to your Business Unit Risk profile to see if this has been identified and what controls have been put in place for you. 

       

    • What are NSS duties when it comes to Noise?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Our duties include:

      General duty to reduce risk to lowest level reasonably practicable;

      • Assess the levels of exposure;
      • Record assessments;
      • Control noise to reduce the risk of damage to employee’s hearing;
      • Provide suitable ear protection
        • upon request at 1st action level;
        • to all who are exposed at 2nd action level;
      • Mark any 'Ear Protection Zones';
      • Ensure the exposure limit values are not exceeded (any attenuation provided by hearing protection may be taken into account)
      • Ensure equipment provided is maintained and used;
      • Provide adequate information, instruction and training.

       

    • What are the causes of hearing loss?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Deafness is caused by damage to the structures within the cochlea, this damage results in loss of both frequency sensitivity and increase in hearing threshold i.e. noises need to be louder to be able to hear them.

      Sometimes after being subjected to loud noises people experience deafness that goes away after a while, and this is called temporary threshold shift.

      After sudden, extremely loud explosive noises, or more usually prolonged lower level exposures to noise over a number of years, permanent hearing loss can occur. It may be that the damage caused is only noticeable when it becomes severe enough to interfere with daily life. This incurable hearing loss may mean that the individual's family complains about the television being too loud, the individual cannot keep up with conversations in a group, or they have trouble using the telephone. Eventually everything becomes muffled and people find it difficult to catch sounds like 't', 'd' and 's', so they confuse similar words. Social situations can become very difficult.

      Age and general fitness are no protection from hearing loss - young people can be damaged as easily as the old. Someone in their mid-twenties can have the hearing that would be expected in a 65 year old. Once ears have been damaged by noise there is no cure.

      Hearing loss is not the only problem; tinnitus or ringing in the ears may be caused as well. Most people suffer temporary tinnitus from time to time, often after a spell in a noisy place, but with noise-damaged ears it can become permanent. Some people find it more distressing than the hearing loss.

    • As an employee what’s my role with regard to Noise?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Your role as an employee is to:

       - Use any noise control equipment provided;

       - Use ear protectors all the time you are exposed to loud noise;

       - Report any defects with noise control equipment.

    • As a Line Manager / Supervisor how do I know if I have a noise issue?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      This will be identified within the Strategic Business Unit Risk profile, and any supporting workplace risk assessments. It will depend on how loud the noise is and how long you are exposed to it. As a simple guide Line Managers / Supervisors will probably have to do something about noise if any of the following apply:

      Is the noise intrusive – like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant – for most of the working day?

      Do employees have to raise their voices to carry out normal conversation when about 2 metres apart for at least part of the working day?

      Do employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?

      Do you work in a noisy industry, eg construction, demolition or road repair; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; general fabrication; forging, pressing or stamping; paper or board making; canning or bottling; foundries?

      Are there noises due to impacts (such as hammering, drop forging, pneumatic impact tools etc), explosive sources such as cartridge-operated tools or detonators, or guns?

    • Why does NSS have to reduce noise at source when workers can wear hearing protection?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The various types of hearing protection (earmuffs, ear plugs, semi-inserts) are not the best forms of protection because they rely on individual employees using the equipment correctly. They can also fail or be inefficient without this being visibly obvious. The effectiveness of hearing protection is reliant on its condition and whether it fits correctly.

      The main requirements apply where employee' noise exposure is likely to be at or above any of the action levels.  In these cases, you must, so far as reasonably practicable, reduce their exposure to noise in ways other then by providing hearing protection. 

    • What about self employed people?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      If you are bringing in self-employed persons or contractors you need to take the same action to protect them as The Board protects its own employees, and they should use the same protective equipment on the same basis. As an Employer we also need to take action to protect those who are employed by them to work at home.

    • What happens if an employee refuses to wear hearing protection?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Line Managers / Supervisors need to ensure that employees use hearing protection when required to do so. Line Managers / Supervisors may want to include the need to wear hearing protection into local Standard Operating procedures and identify a Line Manager who will be in overall charge of issuing it and making sure replacement hearing protection is readily available. Line Managers / Supervisors should also carry out spot checks to see that the rules are being followed and that hearing protection is being used properly.

      If employees persistently fail to use protectors properly then Line Managers / Supervisors should follow the Board disciplinary procedures.

      All managers and supervisors set a good example and wear hearing protection at all times when in hearing protection zones.