Company fined over noise exposure

A manufacturing firm has been fined for putting the hearing of its employees at risk. The company failed to comply with an Improvement Notice requiring a reduction in their daily noise exposure levels despite being given two extensions to the formal warning.

Staff at its factory worked for several hours a day near a granulator machine, which uses metal blades to shred material into tiny pieces. The machine can reach volumes of up to 98 decibels – as loud as a chainsaw.

The Magistrates’ Court heard that the company failed to implement any practical measures to reduce workers’ exposure to noise and protect their hearing, even after receiving the Improvement Notice and being given advice from a specialist HSE inspector.

A later HSE visit with an independent scientist showed that, although some changes had been made, the employees’ daily noise exposure remained high and the changes fell short of what could and should have been achieved.

The Company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice and fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £11,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Note that the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 require an assessment of the risk to health & safety from exposure to noise where employees have  to shout to talk to someone 2m’s away for more than two hours a day.

For more information on Noise Assessments, contact Andrew today on Andrew@spectrumrisk.co.uk

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