Noise at Work

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations came into effect in the middle of 2006 and included what was effectively a 5 dB tightening up of previous regulations, along with a new exposure limit, the exceedance of which is a criminal offense..

The HSE is also keen to emphasise certain aspects of interpretation which have perhaps been neglected with the previous regulations.

There is also the relatively new phenomenon of acoustic shock, mainly in headsets in call centres. Acoustic Shock is entirely different from conventional hearing damage and is widely misunderstood. It technically applies only to headsets, mainly in call centres, but the causes and symptoms can result from many other circumstances.

ADC offers a full service from basic noise assessment, through noise control design, to the project management of the implementation of all noise control solutions.

ADC's services include the following:

  • Occupational noise surveys. This is often the starting point for a noise management plan, driven increasingly by insurance companies as well as the HSE. It will often take the form of noise maps to visually show where the problems are likely to lie.
  • Ear protection analysis. Most good quality hearing protection will be adequate in most situations if properly used. However, where noise levels are very high there may be a need for certain types or brands.
  • Noise control. This is an enormously important part of ADC's expertise. Noise control at source is a particular area of specialism and is usually considerably cheaper to implement than conventional approaches, such as enclosures, screens and barriers, and silencers. Conventional noise control, however, does have an important place in the noise control design armoury and, as long as it is properly designed it works extremely well.
  • Project management - managing the problem from initial survey through to the implementation and testing at completion.
  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss (Industrial Deafness). An Ear Nose and Throat consultant will usually identify if the type of hearing damage is likely to have been noise-induced and, together with the acoustic report, a case can be built or contested. See our page on Expert Witnessing.
  • Acoustic Shock investigations, assessments analysis and reports. Acoustic shock is relatively new and little understood phenomenon caused by sudden very loud noises such as in call centre headsets. It can lead to hearing damage and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as well as a wide range of physiological or psychological effects. Its causes and effects are quite different from conventional hearing loss and it needs to be assessed in an entirely different way. See our page on Expert Witnessing.