Noise at work

Noise and acoustic comfort in the workplace is a growing source of legislation and concern.  High noise levels are not limited to the factory floor and can cause problems in vehicles, on building sites and in telephone call centres.  Noise is a recognised source of stress and illness and offices need to be designed to minimise this as well as to provide privacy and confidentiality.

The 2005 Control of Noise at Work Regulations require the employer to:

  • Assess the risks to employees from noise at work
  • Take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks
  • Provide employees with hearing protection if noise exposure cannot be reduced enough by using other methods
  • Make sure the protectors give enough protection, at least to get below 80dB(A) at the ear
  • Make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded
  • Provide employees with information, instruction and training
  • Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health

Further guidance and information is contained in the HSE booklet “Guidance for employers on the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005” ISBN 0 7176 6165 2 and the HSE pocket card for employees “Protect your hearing or lose it” ISBN 9780 7176 6166 4 copies of which are enclosed with this report.  More detailed guidance is available in the HSE publication “Controlling Noise at Work” ISBN 0-7176-6164-4.

Copies of HSE priced and free publications are available by mail order from:
HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA Tel: 01787 313 995, Website:

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