Noise At Work – Employers Guide to Noise At Work and Surveillance


Exposure to loud noise at the workplace can lead to potential hearing loss and other problems. As a result, all employers have to make sure that they undertake health surveillance as a way of adhering to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. This is to ensure that employees are protected from noise while the results are a useful record.

For many businesses the starting point will be the assessment of the current occupational noise through a specialist provider such as Nova Acoustics.


Why do I need to carry out regular health surveillance?

Health surveillance is all about ensuring that the noise levels in the workplace are safe for your employees. Therefore, it means that you will need to carry out regular hearing checks in controlled conditions as well as inform employees about the results. All health records have to be checked and in instances where potential hearing damage is identified, that all employees are checked by a doctor. Take a look at Action On Hearing Loss for more information.

The best time to carry out health surveillance is prior to employees being exposed to noise as this will provide a baseline to work from. However, it is possible to adopt it at any time that employees are exposed to noise. This would then be followed with a series of checks that take place annually over the course of two years from their initial employment. Following this, they would then be taken every three years. The checks would be undertaken by a professional who has the right level of training while the entire health surveillance program has to be carried out under the control of an occupational health professional. However, as an employer, the responsibility for ensuring it is carried out falls on you.


How do I start with health surveillance?

Larger companies may have access to in-house occupational health services who may be able to carry out the programme. Where there are no facilities in-house you will need to use an external contractor. You may be able to find out about occupational health services through your trade association, or through local business support organisations.


What do I need to do with the results?

After the test has been carried out, you will be given a set of results and these can help you to ensure that the hearing of your employees’ is being protected. As a result, you are going to need to accurately keep all records for each employee. As you are complying with regulations, it could mean that a safety inspector could ask for all health records as part of their checks.

Along with this, you will also need to make the records available to those individuals while any recommendations that are made as part of the health surveillance, you will need to follow. As a result, you will need to use the results to review and where necessary, make changes to your risk assessment and how you plan to control the risks.

Using these results, you can gain an insight into the success of your programme when it comes to controlling noise risks. Therefore, the results can be used to help reduce noise, educate and remain compliant.