current Noise at Work Regulations (1989) impose strict limits
on employee noise exposure levels and require the employer to
have employees’ noise doses assessed by a competent person.
to adhere to the regulations could potentially leave employers
exposed to prosecution by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC),
as well as litigation from employees.
|Towards the end of 2002 the
European Union published a new directive, the Physical Agents
(Noise) Directive. This developed from a 1993 proposal to control
exposure to a number of physical agents (noise, vibration, electromagnetic
radiation, etc) by means of one directive.
|The complexity of imposing
one system of control on these diverse agents has resulted in
the development of systems for each individual agent.
|The new directive on noise will
be implemented in the UK by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations
2005, which include two peak exposure action values and a peak
exposure limit value. These will replace the single peak action
level of the current Noise at Work Regulations (1989).
consequence, noise at work assessments in the near future must
be undertaken in line with the requirements of the forthcoming
legislation, which will impose even strict limits on noise levels.
have considerable experience in carrying out noise at work assessments
and also in providing education and training to personnel responsible
for workplace health and safety to become competent to carry
out such assessments.
| An example of a recent commission
in the occupational acoustics sector has included an assessment
of the implication of the forthcoming Noise at Work Regulations
(2005) on a major manufacturing business in the north.
|Given the increase in complaints
about noise from industrial sources in recent years, such noise
is being increasingly limited by a number of regulatory bodies.
emissions from industrial sites now require detailed measurement
and prediction to establish their environmental impact. Clearly,
complaints from the public over an industrial noise source could
lead to severe restrictions being placed on the operational
activities of a business.
| We have been involved in
many schemes concerning complaints from the public over industrial
noise emissions, from the perspective of both the complainant
and the industrial business.
|This experience allows us
to provide realistic assessments of potential noise nuisance
and, if necessary, advise on practical, cost effective noise
mitigation measures. In our experience, simple changes to operating
practices and controlling noise at source will often prove to
be the most appropriate solution.