UK Cuts Noise Limits for Entertainment Industry

Great Britain's Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 took effect for the music and entertainment sectors on April 6, making them equal with EU regulations and all other sectors where the regulations have been in force since April 2006. The noise regulations apply to pubs, clubs, amplified live music events, orchestras, and other premises where live music or recorded music is played. The  text of the regulations are available at www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051643.htm.

"Thousands of people are exposed to loud noise at work, with 170,000 people in the UK suffering deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions, as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work," according to the Health and Safety Executive. "These regulations aim to ensure workers’ hearing is protected from excessive noise at work, implement a European Commission Directive, and replace the Noise at Work Regulations 1989."

There is a worker exposure limit value of 87 decibels, taking account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection. The regulations will require employers 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 it is not possible to reduce the noise exposure enough using other methods;
* 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.

Employees are required to comply with the measures their employers introduce under the regulations, including wearing hearing protection when required and also reporting any defect or problem in using them. Employees also are required to report during working hours for health surveillance where this is required.

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