Noise Risks and Management’s Attitude to Health and Safety
In the same way that measures should be taken to eliminate a danger before contemplating the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the same approach should be taken regarding noise risks, which are of course also a danger to people's health and safety. Loud and/or prolonged exposure to noise can cause permanent hearing damage and conditions such as tinnitus.
Dismissing the Danger from Noise
Noise risks can sometimes be overlooked or dismissed simply as an issue which is an inevitable by-product of operations and something which needs to be put up with in order to complete the task. This attitude can either come from the worker themselves or even from management who place more importance on getting the work done by a particular deadline over and above the health and safety of their employees.
Employees who disregard the dangers which noise in the workplace present will do so either under the instruction and influence of management (discussed in more detail below), or by their own volition. They may do this either because they do not understand the potential risk and damage which can be done to their hearing on a temporary or permanent basis, or due to that common reason for not wearing suitable protective equipment and/or bypassing safety measures: showing off in front of colleagues and friends.
For either of the reasons above, training and a change in attitude will be required in order for employees to work more safely and reduce the likelihood of them suffering damage to either their hearing or indeed another form of accident (it is likely that they will have the same attitude to other health and safety dangers, not just for noise risks). This change in attitude can be brought about through effective health and safety training courses which teach attendees information about the potential risks and the negative effects they can have upon the body. It can also be produced through management implementing and encouraging a health and safety culture within the organisation which, when combined with health and safety training, can create a much safer place of work. Of course, this will be unlikely to happen if management fall into the category discussed below.
Despite safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees being a legal requirement, some managers will actively encourage their workers to get the job done as quickly as possible, even if that means bypassing and ignoring any health and safety controls or safety systems which have been put into place to protect them and keep them safe from harm. This attitude to safety, or lack of it, will put workers at risk of suffering damage such as injuries or ill-health.
Management not only have a legal duty to prevent harm coming to workers and members of the public affected by the activities of the organisation, but also a moral responsibility. It will also be in their financial interests too, as it will significantly reduce the likelihood of fines being levied, compensation claims and/or lack of production whilst staff members are off sick but continue to receive full pay. It is therefore in everybody's interests to encourage a positive health and safety culture within the business at all times.