The new Noise at Work Regulations (2005) came into force on 6 April 2006 and replaced the previous regulations that had been in force since 1989.
The object of the Regulations is to protect employees from noise. They require employers to:
Assess the risks from noise.
Take action to reduce noise exposure (elimination of source or contact with that source).
Provide hearing protection for those employees exposed.
Make sure legal limits are not exceeded:
Lower exposure action value 80 dB
Upper exposure action value 85 dB
Peak sound pressure of 137 dB
Provide information to employees.
Carry out hearing surveillance for staff where there is risk to health.
Performing the Test
Unique Health Care uses a fully automated portable system with sound excluding headphones that can be used in a quiet room. This allows us to perform hearing surveillance to the new HSE standard guidelines on your site and at your convenience without the requirement of a cumbersome acoustic booth or an expensive mobile unit.
Unique Health Care’s process typically takes 15-20 minutes per person. This includes a review of a questionnaire (to be completed by each individual), the test itself, an examination of the ears and an explanation of the results. The test is relatively straight forward, after quick instructions on what to do, the audiometry programme is run and this automatically goes through the prescribed frequencies.
The final output is presented as an audiogram (graph) with the overall result adjusted for age and classified into one of four categories (as per the Noise Regulations). A summarised report is produced at the end and results are filed and stored. Any person failing the tests will be referred onward to a Doctor, normally their own GP.