The University has a duty to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise in its workplaces. The Noise Regulations (The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005) require that an assessment of the risks from noise at work is made and that (a) legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded and (b) action is taken if necessary to reduce the noise exposure that produces the risk. Hearing protection (e.g. ear defenders) may have to be provided if the noise exposure cannot be reduced enough by other methods (e.g by putting noisy equipment inside a noise attenuation cabinet). Information, instruction and training must also be provided to workers, and where the risk assessment has identified a risk to health, health surveillance must be provided.
The Noise Regulations require specific action to be taken at certain action values. These relate to:
· the levels of exposure to noise of workers averaged over a working day or week
· the maximum noise (peak sound pressure) to which workers are exposed in a working day.
The values are:
Lower exposure action values:
- daily or weekly exposure of 80 dB;
- peak sound pressure of 135 dB;
Upper exposure action values:
- daily or weekly exposure of 85 dB;
- peak sound pressure of 137 dB.
There are also levels of noise exposure which must not be exceeded:
Exposure limit values:
- daily or weekly exposure of 87 dB;
- peak sound pressure of 140 dB.
These exposure limit values take account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection