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Noise and the Occupational Health and Safety Act - what you need to know

by , 07 March 2013
On Monday night, teen singing sensation Justin Bieber incurred a £300,000 fine when his gig at London's O2 overran. The reason? He was fined for making too much noise when his concert finished 30 minutes after the Greenwich Council's curfew on live music. Sounds ridiculous? It's not! In fact, your business could get into trouble with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) if you don't pay attention to its occupation noise regulations...

85dBA! That's the maximum amount of noise anyone who enters your workplace can be exposed to, according to the OHSA.

That's about as loud as what a bus, motorbike or pneumatic tools (a tool that uses compressed air like a drill) sounds like if you're 50 feet away. Essentially, if you need to raise your voice to a near shout to speak over the noise, it's probably louder than the required 85dBA occupational noise regulations, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.

Here's how to monitor and control noise in your workplace…

If your employee is exposed, or exposes himself, to noise at or above the noise-rating limit, he must obey any instructions you or someone you appoint gives him to minimise damage to his hearing, says the OHSA.

That's why to help you comply with this regulation, the Health and Safety Advisor provides the following employee checklist.

According to the checklist, your employee must:

 Adopt measures to control noise e.g. working in a demarcated noise zone
 Use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – such as ear plugs - you provide
Report damaged, lost or defective noise control equipment
Co-operate with you when using personal sound exposure meters, to determine personal noise exposure
Report for medical surveillance and training. 'This will assist you and your health and safety rep to constantly determine any damage their hearing may have suffered and keep your employees up-to-date with the necessary training,' explains the Health and Safety Advisor

By making sure your employees tick all the boxes on this this checklist, you'll protect your employees hearing and be able to ensure your workplace sticks to the OHSA's occupational noise regulations.

Turn to your Health and Safety Advisor to get more information on the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations (NIHL) regulations. 

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