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Noise Exposure & The Law

Noise and the law in the UK:

Recent research estimates that nearly 200,000 people in the UK suffer with some form of hearing impairment as a direct result of occupational loud noise exposure. This is a serious yet preventable problem, and as such legislation has been passed to ensure that both employers and employees are aware of acceptable exposure levels and when action needs to be taken.

The Noise at Work Regulations 2006 stipulate that the first action level is a daily personal noise exposure of 80 dB(A) and a peak value of 112 pascals, the second action level is a daily personal noise exposure of 85 dB(A), and the peak action level is a peak sound pressure of 140 pascals. The limit value will take into account the reduction afforded by hearing protection.

By law, all employers have to ensure that their employees are provided with the appropriate level of protection based on the surrounding noise levels in their working environment. Essentially, employees that work in environments where the noise level is 85 dB(A) or above require hearing protection, that should be made available by their employers.