Noise Regulations Summary
Here is what each Regulation in the Noise Regs is about, and looked at positively, a good chunk of them don’t require anything at all for employers.
Regulation 1 - Citation and commencement
I.e. gubbins like when date-wise the noise regs apply from. If you are reading this now then they apply so you can ignore this bit. Regulations four to ten are the ones which you need to be most aware of.
Regulation 2 - Interpretation
Some specific meanings of words and phrases such as 'emergency services', 'enforcing authority', 'working day', 'health surveillance' and so on. Basically a mini-glossary. Again, not all that relevant to most people.
Regulation 3 - Application
This bit explains how the Noise Regs are applied and one useful part covers how to deal with people who are not your employees, such as agency staff, contractors, the self-employed and trainees.
Regulation 4 - Exposure limits and action values
This is a key one and sets out the limits for noise exposure. This is the 80 and 85dB(A) and 135 and 137dB(C) limits plus a few other bits and bobs.
Regulation 5 - Assessment of risk
Thou shalt decide if thou may have a noise risk and if so, assess it. The chunky bit which sets out when noise assessments are required.
Regulation 6 - Controlling exposures to noise
You aren't allowed to just dish out hearing protection and consider it all done and this section says you must eliminate or control noise risks to get them back down to safe levels and then only where this cannot be done should you issue hearing protection. This section gives the hierarchy for controlling noise risks which employers have to follow.
Regulation 7 - Hearing protection
Covers the issuing of hearing protection, designation of mandatory areas, signage, etc.
Regulation 8 - Maintenance and use of equipment
Equipment provided for noise control purposes or hearing protection must remain well-maintained and in working order and hearing protection must be used.
Regulation 9 - Health surveillance
Where the noise assessment identifies some personnel to be at risk then a programme of 'health surveillance' is needed, or in normal-person speak, hearing tests / audiometry.
Regulation 10 - Information, instruction and training
Where people are working in noisy environments, noise safety training must be provided and the regs go so far as to specify the mandatory contents of that training.
Regulation 11 - Exemption certificates from hearing protection
The HSE and only the HSE may grant an exemption from using hearing protection in very specific circumstances where other risks may come into play. This section says they can do that BUT unless you have something very exceptional regarding noise at work then it doesn't apply to you. Trust me, it doesn't. No thinking you will get some magic certificate saying not to worry about it all.
Regulation 12 - Exemption certificate for emergency services
As with 11, the HSE may grant an exemption for the emergency services.
Regulation 13 - Exemptions for the MOD
And again, the HSE may grant an exemption for people who make stuff go bang.
Regulation 14 - Extension outside of Britain
The Noise Regs cover offshore installations and some others bits about British territorial waters. Will apply to companies operating offshore wind farms for example.
Regulation 15 - Revocations, amendments and gubbins
Some words about something we don't worry about.