Noise Awareness Training
Excessive noise at work often causes hearing damage which is permanent and disabling. According to statistics held by the Health and Safety Executive, about 20,000 UK workers suffer from deafness, ringing in the ears or other aural conditions caused by excessive noise in the workplace.
Hearing loss can take place over time as a result of exposure to noise and it can be immediate as the result of a sudden extremely loud noises. A lack of attention to the protection of hearing can also lead to partial hearing loss and other distressing conditions such tinnitus, or ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears.
Sound is defined as vibrations transmitted through a medium, such as air, metal, or water. It’s these vibrations that are detected by your ears.
These vibrations are whats known as ‘sound waves’. In the diagram of the sound wave, the larger the amplitude, or distance between waves, the louder the sound. The difference between the two highest points on the wave is called the wave length. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. The frequency of a sound wave determines the pitch.
Regulations on noise control apply to everyone and employers have a duty to assess risks for all workers. These include workers regardless of whether they work on the business premises, at home or at the premises of customers or clients. The following pieces of legislation are central to employers duty under the control of noise at work and covered in this noise awareness training course.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 – These regulations give the obligations on how employers must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise at work, so they can protect the hearing of their employees.
Management of Health and Safety of Work, MHSW regulations. Employers must consider the safety of all stakeholders in a business, including employees, contractors and customers in order to assess potential risks and to create action plans for emergencies. These regulations define these obligations for employers
Risk Assessments and Action Plans
The workers exposure to the likely peak sound pressure levels, commonly known as peak exposure or LCpeak should also be determined. Typically, this means thinking about
- what work is done or is likely to be done.
- The ways in which the work may be done,
- how the work might vary from one day to the next.
In line with UK legislation this noise awareness training course takes the learner through the steps to evaluate noise exposure, more commonly known as daily average exposure, or LEPD. This represents the daily noise dose for an employee and is calculated from a combination of how loud and how long a person is exposed to noise in a working day.
Prioritising Controls for Effective Results
The hierarchy of controls diagram, start at the top with elimination, the most effective way of dealing with noise and runs down to personal protective equipment PPE. In this noise awareness training, we look at how each one can be incorporated into an action plan to comply with UK legislation in an effective and cost effective manner.
- Elimination should always be considered when a new work process is being introduced, when buying new equipment or when redesigning the layout of the shop floor.
- Substitution means replacing noisy equipment or machinery with quieter alternatives. Substitution is the next best alternative when elimination is not possible.
- You should always consider noise emission when coming up with the design and layout of the workplace to ensure that it is as low as practicable
- Engineering controls involve making noise reducing changes to processes, machinery or equipment.
- Administrative controls involve organising work to reduce the number of workers who are exposed to noise or reducing the length of time they’re exposed to noise
- The final level of the hierarchy of controls is PPE
Personal Protective Equipment
There is no single ideal type of hearing protection that fits all work activity in situations. To choose the best type of hearing protection, employers must use noise risk assessment results, along with information from the PPE suppliers. When you are selecting PPE to protect workers hearing, there are some questions you should consider.
- does it provide the right level of attenuation, the right amount of sound reduction?
- will it stop people hearing important sounds such as warning signals?
- Is it suitable for the work environment?
- Is it compatible with other types of PPE?
- How comfortable is it to wear?
- will individual users like it and
- how much will it cost to maintain or replace
It is the employers responsibility to ensure that appropriate PPE is available and well maintained. Employees are responsible for reporting any damage they notice or if they lose any items of PPE. You’ll find extra guidance on hearing PPE in the British Standard BD RN 458:2016. Hearing protectors recommendations for selection, use care and maintenance.
Health Surveillance Programs
Employers are responsible for ensuring the health surveillance programme is carried out correctly. A professionally run health surveillance programme normally involves regular hearing checks which are conducted annually for the first two years of being exposed, and then three yearly intervals. That said, checks may need to be conducted more frequently if a problem with hearing is discovered, or where the risk of hearing damage is high. The hearing checks should be carried out by appropriate trained personnel and checked by a doctor, nurse or audiologist. They will review the result and make sure that employees with poor hearing or rapid hearing loss are referred for further medical advice and investigation.
A health and safety inspector can also ask to see the health record to check that the company is complying with the regulations. Once results are presented, including information on an employee’s fitness to continue working in noisy environments
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Online assessment for this noise awareness training is carried out by a series of multiple choice questions. Candidates must answer 70% of the questions correctly to pass each module. We advise you to complete each module and answer the question before moving on to the next module. This provides a better learning experience because you will need to have knowledge from earlier modules to understand some of the material in the later modules. For those who complete the course successfully, a PDF certificate of the award is sent directly to your inbox. Hard copies of the award are available on request. The course takes 55 minutes of training to complete. This is course content only and does not cover the time it takes to answer questions.