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Echo Barrier Blog

New HSE guidelines put employers on RED alert when it comes to noise

Posted by Magnet on May 28, 2019 2:39:00 PM

It comes as the body revealed that within the industry there is a ‘widespread misunderstanding of what occupational health means’, leaving employers unsure how to make it a part of their health and safety initiatives and policies.

In an attempt to resolve some of the myths, a new document has been published named ‘Occupational Health risk management in construction’ which has been made available on the internet and which offers guidance based on a traffic light system of threat, as well as a more user friendly explanation of what the term means for both employers and employees.

Prolonged exposure to excessive noise has been placed in the red category, meaning it is considered a severe threat to health and welfare, and steps should be taken to mitigate it where possible.

Ian Strudley, Chair of the ConIAC Health Risks Working Group and HSE Principal Specialist Inspector said: “The misunderstanding of occupational health within the construction sector means that whilst the industry focus on managing the more familiar safety issues, serious health risks get ignored. We cannot let this continue."
“When figures show that construction workers are at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work as they are from a fatal accident, the industry must take action.”

Peter Wilson from Echo Barrier added:
“We are pleased to see that exposure to noise has been listed as a severe threat to health, and must be something employers take more seriously as part of their health and safety policies. As well as ear damage, it has been scientifically proven that loud or continuous noise can lead to sleep deprivation, stress and heart disease.”
Shelley Frost, Executive Director – Policy at IOSH, said:
“This new guide raises awareness of the occupational health issues in construction, demystifies how to best manage them and provides information as to where firms can get help and assistance.
“Ultimately, if the advice is followed, it could help to lower incidence rates of occupational ill-health and transform the perception of working in construction to that of an attractive and respectful industry with great career choices.”

The HSE have revealed that during their recent construction inspection initiative, they issued more than 200 health related enforcement notices.

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