“I Can't Ear You” - 10 Ways to Protect Employees Hearing
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations are about protecting hearing. This article highlights 10 of the many practical ways (including recommendations for good practice) that business owners can take to protect employees.
1. Complete a noise risk assessment – you must complete a noise risk assessment if noise levels are at the lower exposure action values. Many people are under the misunderstanding that a noise survey is sufficient; however employers must also calculate employee noise exposure.
2. Carry out a noise survey – if you cannot accurately determine the noise exposure from machinery information, etc, then you must carry out a workplace noise survey and also take into consideration noisy intermittent activities.
3. Designate hearing protection zones - place sign at the doors leading into these areas. Advise employees (and visitors) about the hearing protection zones. Good practice is to compile a workplace plan of noise levels and highlight all hearing protection zones in colour. Also provide robust tags around noisy equipment to highlight.
4. Introduce pre-employment questionnaires. Ask new staff about exposure to high noise levels in previous employment, noisy hobbies/activities, deafness in the family, etc.
5. Advise employees about ototoxic solvents and take appropriate action. Hearing loss can occur from exposure to ototoxic solvents and more consideration should be given to restricting exposure.
6. Provide hearing protection to employees - ensure that the hearing protection is suitable. Over-protection can make workers feel isolated and can lead to safety risks and poor communication.
7. Train your employees on the correct way to put on hearing protection. This could be a 1-2-1 training session or a video demonstration.
8. Introduce a Positive Purchasing Policy for quieter machinery and equipment. Advise all employees about it, from Directors / Purchasing Department to employees (who may know about quieter machinery and equipment used in previous employment).
9. Provide audiometric health surveillance for employees identified.
10. Set an example - remember as a business owner, set an example and wear hearing protection in designated hearing protection zones and during noisy work activities.... don’t be a “do as I say person”.... lead by example in the workplace.
If you would like to receive more information on good workplace practice or receive a quote for a noise survey and risk assessment, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, sign up to GES newsletter at...www.groslees.co.uk.
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