Thursday, 28 June 2007

Message is loud and clear

Shropshire employers are being warned they must control noise levels in the workplace to protect their employees’ hearing.

John Mehtam, Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford, said a national survey of bosses in the music and entertainment industry had shown worrying results.

“Almost 70 per cent of the employers questioned were completely unaware that they must comply with new Control of Noise at Work regulations which will come into force next April.

“This means bar, pub and club workers all over the UK are not receiving the support they need to protect their hearing.”

John said over half the employers surveyed also said they had no plans to offer hearing protection to their workers.
“This is despite shocking figures that show excessive noise in the workplace has led to deafness or other ear difficulties for around half a million people in the UK.

“It is one of the most ignored workplace risks, with only 10 per cent of the employers surveyed considering that excessive noise may be the biggest risk to their staff.”

John said the new rules would reduce the noise levels at which workers in the music and entertainment industries were required to wear hearing protection.

“The levels in both industries have been reduced by five decibels, to 80 decibels in the music industry and 85 in the entertainment industry, and employers must ensure that protection is available to all staff who may be affected.

“The guidelines also state that hearing protection must ensure that average noise levels reaching a worker’s ears are never above 87 decibels, so not only must you make sure protection is available, but also, that it’s effective.

“Employers in the music and entertainment industries must take these new rules seriously, and staff should ensure they know their rights – the changes are being introduced to protect workers, and it’s vital that protection is accessible to everyone.”