Under Health & Safety rules, Big Ben’s famous chimes fall silent today until 2021 to allow essential repair work to take place. The chimes will fall silent to protect construction workers from noise-induced hearing loss.
Mark Scutchings, Hearbase Managing Director was interviewed over his decision to silent the famous clock’s ‘bongs’ for four years to protect the hearing of workers carrying out repairs.
Big Ben’s bongs sound at 118 decibels, which Mark said meant there was a Health & Safety justification for silencing them while renovation takes place.
“In a working environment, we have to take noise seriously when the levels are in the region of 80-85 decibels. He added that 118 decibels were “an awful lot louder than 85 decibels.”
“If a noise level reaches 120 decibels you can suffer immediate and irreparable damage to your hearing so this is pretty loud.”
Constant proximity to the chimes would pose a serious risk to their hearing and would prevent efficient working. People will be working on the scaffolding day-in-day-out throughout the period of work, and while protective headgear could be provided, it is not desirable for individuals working at height to have their hearing obscured.
Noise-induced hearing loss – the facts.
According to the Health & Safety Executive some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, ringing in the ears, or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work.
Exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the commonest health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up gradually over time.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 requires employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work.
Let’s find out what the regulations require you as an employer to do…
» Assess the risks to your employees from noise at work
» Take action to reduce noise exposure
» Provide your employees with the correct PPE if you cannot reduce the noise exposure enough by using other methods.
» Make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded
» Provide your employees with information, instruction and training
As an employer, proving your employees with training is invaluable, especially if you or your employees are regularly exposed to noise.
Safety Media’s 30-minute Noise Awareness course will provide you with key information to protect your hearing.
The chapters include an introduction to Noise, Noise in the workplace and Controlling Exposure and Hearing Protection.
At the end of the course trainees will be able to:
» Understand what ‘Noise’ is
» Understand the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
» Recognise noise problems
» Assess and control risks
» Understand how noise is controlled
» Recognise different types of hearing protection.
Watch a short Noise Awareness course clip here, or contact one of our Health & Safety advisers today on 01745 535000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org