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Health and Safety - Hearing Loss at Work

Places of work where machinery is used can have the potential to be so loud and noisy that they may damage the hearing of those working nearby. Hearing loss is generally caused through prolonged exposure to loud noise rather than a sudden one-off burst, although either can be damaging to a person's hearing, whether in the short-term or in the long-term.

Not only can a loss of hearing be a problem for a person's day-to-day life such as trying to hear the television, but may even place themselves or others at risk if their hearing is so bad that they fail to hear warning shouts, instructions or even alarms and carry on blissfully unaware as action such as evacuating the premises needs to be undertaken.

Although upgrading machinery may result in newer, quieter machinery (e.g. water or gas cooled rather than noisy air fans), this will often not be an option either because of the cost involved for the company, or because the technology simply does not exist yet and noisy machinery is just an inevitable part of the company's particular process. In this case, certain steps can be taken, such as moving workers further away from the machinery, as the intensity of the noise will be lessened the further away a person is from the source. If a person's workstation is located close to the source, can it be moved further away without compromising safety? i.e. do they need to be located close to the machine to press an emergency stop button if required.

If the machinery cannot be altered or replaced, and a worker cannot relocate to a safe position, then personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to be provided such as ear defenders to ensure that workers are not exposed to damaging levels of noise whilst at work.

In order to determine the level of noise risks in your place of work you will need to perform a noise assessment, as the Control of Noise at Work Regulations mean it is a legal requirement for employers to reduce and control the level of noise in a workplace.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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