News & Views
13 Feb 2023

Why noise-induced hearing loss is the most common cause of employer litigation

Last year, our in-house research and development team at KP Acoustics Research Labs secured accreditation from the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) for its renowned training course on Competence in Workplace Noise Risk Assessments. The course, which aims to enable attendees to carry out workplace noise assessments in a competent manner as required by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, is vital to any industry that is subject to controlling noise at work.

Here, our Head of Research and Innovation, Professor Chris Barlow, shines a light on the importance of regulating noise exposure in the workplace in order to safeguard the health of your workforce and avoid employer litigation related to noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace.

Protecting employees from harmful noise exposure in the workplace should be of paramount importance. With noise-induced hearing loss labelled the most prevalent occupational disease in the world today, managing and mitigating the risks of occupational noise exposure through conducting workplace noise risk assessments is vital to safeguarding the health of employees. From manufacturing plants, fabrication warehouses, construction sites, metal fabrication and heavy industries, demolition sites, roadworks, airports and more – exposure to harmful levels of noise can lead to a number of hearing-related occupational diseases, particularly where mitigating procedures have not been correctly assessed and implemented.

However, there is an alarmingly widespread lack of knowledge amongst many organisations on how best to implement and carry out workplace noise risk assessments, coinciding with a light hand on regulation from governing bodies. Moreover, failure to follow such regulation is the most common cause of employer litigation, and the scales – more often than not – tend to tilt towards the litigant. If a company cannot demonstrate that they have implemented best practice when undergoing risk assessments that work to safeguard an employee’s health and wellbeing, they can be sued for hearing loss and will likely lose.

On the flip side of this, following procedures diligently will help your company to avoid this. Keeping documentation of workplace noise risk assessments to protect companies when employer litigation occurs is vital. With an immense amount of responsibility to be carried to ensure the protection of your employees and company reputation, providing training in carrying out workplace noise assessments as required by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 is essential.

As part of KP Acoustics’ IoA-accredited course on Competence in Workplace Noise Risk Assessments (CCWNRA), our team of experts and academics provide the essential acoustics background to understand the measurements and the relevant legislation, combined with `hands-on’ practical experience of industrial noise measurements and associated assessment of workplace noise exposure.

Key benefits and learnings of the CCWNRA course:

The primary outcome of completing the CCWNRA course is to build employee knowledge and awareness of noise control issues and how to deal with them, enabling organisations to protect staff and create an effective, satisfied, and more productive workforce. On successful completion of the course, a participant should also be able to:

– Understand the requirements of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

– Understand the essential noise indices specified by the regulations.

– Demonstrate competence in the use of a sound level meter and noise dosimeter to measure occupational noise exposure

– Demonstrate ability to assess overall noise risk from measurements and make recommendations to ensure the safety of workers.

– Communicate procedures, results and recommendations clearly in a written report.

Who is responsible for conducting workplace noise risk assessments?

Health and safety officers, occupational health specialists, estates managers, construction managers and acoustic consultants alike may often be tasked with the responsibility of conducting workplace noise risk assessments, and subsequently implementing the necessary regulations to mitigate the impacts of the discovered risks. However, a company-wide approach to understanding the risks of workplace noise and the importance of assessing them will likely lead to more consistent and effective regulation that will ultimately reduce the risk of noise-related workplace illness and associated litigation. Here, it is important to provide training for responsible parties amongst your team – and our CCWNRA course could be the perfect place to start.

How can you get involved in our CCWNRA course?

– The next available course is from the 27th of February to the 3rd of March

– The next course following this will run from the 25th to the 29th of September

– Maximum of 10 people per enrollment

Alongside Professor Chris Barlow, the course is run by Juan Battaner- Moro, Head of Knowledge Exchange at KP Research Labs, and Duncan Arkley, Principal Consultant at KP Acoustics Group to bring in a mixture of academic and practical expertise that deliver a holistic and well-rounded understanding of workplace noise risk assessments.

Lasting for five full days, the first two days of the course are offered as hybrid and the final three days are in person to deliver four days of teaching, along with a practical assessment and written exam. In-person teaching is carried out at KP offices in Southampton.

Sign up for our March 2023 IoA-accredited Competence in Workplace Noise Risk Assessments course so you can gain a better understanding of the workplace noise regulations that you must adhere to, AND an ability to assess and ensure the safety of your team.

Sign up on our site today.

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