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Health & Safety - Noise

Health & Safety at Work

Noise control campaign (2007-2008)

During 2007-2008 HSE (Health & Safety Executive) inspectors addressed noise in three priority industry sectors. They expected to see evidence of reduction of noise risks to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable. Where noise risks remain, inspectors will be looking for evidence that the risks have been managed adequately and that suitable hearing protection is available and health surveillance in place.

The following products are useful for providing a warning when noise levels are sufficiently high that hearing protection should be worn.  
Soundsign Noise Activated Warning Sign
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dBAlert - Personal Noise Activated Warning Unit

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Soundsign Noise Activated Warning Sign    
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  dBAlert - Personal Noise Activated Warning Unit 
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  The HSE industry links below provide information on established good practice for managing noise risks.

  Plastic Products  -  Woodworking  -  Concrete and Cement Products

All pages include information on established noise control methods for individual high noise activities and processes. Additionally information on general management of noise risks and links to further information & case studies are available.

Noise Regulations

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (the Noise Regulations) came into force for all industry sectors in the UK in April 2006, except for the music and entertainment sectors where they came into force on 6 April 2008.

The aim of the Noise Regulations is to ensure that workers are protected from excessive noise levels, which may cause hearing damage or tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears), at their place of work.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 replace the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

Click here for further information regarding noise at work in the music and entertainment sectors

At daily or weekly average exposure levels of 85 decibels, employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones. The level at which employers must assess the risk to workers health and provide them with information and training is 80 decibels. Workers must not be exposed to a noise level of more than 87 decibels, taking into account any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection.

The complete Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 1989 can be viewed by clicking the appropriate link.

Guidance on the 2005 Regulations can be found in the free HSE leaflet Noise at Work and in the book Controlling Noise at Work (L108) (ISBN 0-7176-6164-4) available from HSE Books or local bookshops.

Background to the Noise Regulations

The 1989 and the 2005 noise regulations are based on European Union Directives requiring similar basic laws on protecting workers from the health risks caused by noise. They do not apply to members of the public exposed to noise from their non-work activities, or when they make an informed choice to go to noisy places or from nuisance noise.

The 2005 Noise Regulations replace the 1989 Noise Regulations and introduce new requirements for action to be taken by employers. For example, the 2005 Regulations require employers to take action to protect workers at levels of noise 5 dB lower than in the 1989 Regulations and now require regular hearing checks for workers who are frequently exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels.

Thousands of employees are exposed to loud noise at work and there is a risk of hearing damage. Compliance with the Noise Regulations will protect workers hearing.

Further Information:
2003 Directive
Regulatory Impact Assessment Final
Advice for employers
Advice for workers
Further information
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