The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) requires employers to reduce the impact of noise on their employees. In addition, there is also a requirement to carry out a noise risk assessment to identify and, if necessary, rectify high noise levels.
The noise regulations prescribe two levels, or Exposure Action Values:
- The Lower Exposure Action Value of 80dB(A) is the point at which an area should be designated as a “Noise Hazard Zone” where operatives and visitors are advised to wear hearing protection
- The Upper Exposure Action Value of 85dB(A) is the point at which an area should be designated as a “Hearing Protection Zone” where operatives and visitors must wear suitable hearing protection
Your risk assessment should:
- Identify where there may be a risk from noise and who is likely to be affected
- Contain a reliable estimate of your employees' exposures, and compare the exposure with the exposure action values and limit values
- Identify what you need to do to comply with the law, eg whether noise-control measures or hearing protection are needed, and, if so, where and what type; and
- Identify any employees who need to be provided with health surveillance and whether any are at particular risk.