Over the coming months, Essential Projects intends to publish a series of articles related to important health and safety related topics that sub-contractors should consider to ensure compliance and the safety of those working on site.
Noise and vibration is very much a hot topic for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) at the moment, so we’ve invited Finch Consulting, Senior Consultant, Teli Chinelis, to provide an overview and help explain the various regulations and legislation that sub-contractors will need to ensure staff working on site comply with.
Teli has over 18 years of experience in the field of acoustics and noise control, and has practiced in occupational noise, building acoustics, and environmental noise and vibration impact. For the last few years, he has spent the bulk of his time as a jointly instructed expert witness dealing with personal injury claims relating to occupational exposure to noise and vibration.
What damage can excessive exposure to noise and/or vibration cause?
Noise that is capable of damaging hearing may cause other health effects such as stress, fatigue, hypersensitivity to noise, elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate.
Not only can this affect your everyday lifestyle, it will also interfere with your performance, slow your reaction times and affect communication at work, which could lead to injuries or incidents. Once your precious sense of hearing is damaged or lost, it can never be regained.
Exposure to vibration could have a negative effect on the health of your employees. It could damage joints, muscles, circulation and sensory nerves.
This could lead to considerable pain, time off or even disability.
What are the Regulations?
Employers are legally and morally responsible for controlling noise and vibration in the workplace and protecting their employees.
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (the Vibration Regulations), came into force on 6 July 2005 and aim to protect workers from risks to health from vibration. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (the Noise Regulations) came into force for all industry sectors in Great Britain on 6 April 2006.
The level at which employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones is 85 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure) and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers’ health and provide them with information and training is 80 decibels.
In relation to vibration, the regulations contain an:
- Exposure action value of 2.5 m/s2 A(8) at which level employers should introduce technical and organisational measures to reduce exposure.
- Exposure limit value of 5.0 m/s2 A(8) which should not be exceeded.
How can Employers comply with the regulations?
By law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise and/or hand-arm/whole body vibration so that you can protect your employees and sub-contractors from risks to their hearing and their health.
Where the risks are low, the actions you take may be simple and inexpensive, but where the risks are high, you should manage them using a prioritised action plan to control exposure to hand-arm/whole body vibration and noise.
Where required, ensure that:
- hearing protection is provided and used;
- control measures to reduce vibration are properly applied; and
- provide information, training and health surveillance.
Review what you are doing if anything changes that may affect exposures to vibration and/or noise at your employee’s workplace(s).
If you would like further advice regarding noise and vibration issues, Teli can be contacted by email: email@example.com.
If you have a project that requires architectural metalwork and glass, primary and secondary structural steelwork requirements, please feel free to contact us via 0115 975 5787 or firstname.lastname@example.org