Control of Noise at Work Regulations

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (CoNAWR) were developed in order to comply with the European Union Physical Agents (Noise) Directive (2003/10/EC) which aims to protect workers from risks to their health arising from exposure to noise.

The legislation defines a number of management obligations on the part of employer. These include provision of training relating to the risks of excessive noise exposure, record keeping, provision of audiometric testing/ health surveillance and undertaking risk assessment on a bi-annual basis etc.

Risk assessment is performed by determining daily/ weekly noise exposure levels, which relate to the noise level in the workplace and the daily/ weekly duration of exposure.  Lower and Upper Exposure Action Values (of 80 and 85 dB LEp,d respectively) are defined, which have legal requirements on both the employer and employee in circumstances where an individual’s noise exposure falls into these categories.  These include, for example, a requirement to define and label areas in which hearing protection should be worn and to make the hearing protection freely available.  In addition an Exposure Limit Value of 87 dB LEP,d also applies at the ear and takes into account the benefit of any hearing protection worn.  This should not be exceeded under any circumstances.

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