Noise at work regulations falling on deaf ears - Norwich Union

Article date: 24 March 2006

Businesses have been slow to respond to impending legal changesaffecting noise at work, according to Norwich Union.

Despite the 6 April 2006 dateline when the Control of Noise atWork Regulations 2005 come into effect, evidence suggests thatonly a handful of firms are preparing adequately for them.

Phil Grace, casualty risk manager at Norwich Union, says:“Though requests for Norwich Union Risk Services’courses on noise and vibration are greater this year than last,the demand for knowledge about the new regulations could only becalled a trickle rather than a surge.”

Following on from the EU Physical Agents (Noise) Directive, thenew regulations will lower the threshold of how many decibels areconsidered acceptable in the workplace. Under existing health andsafety legislation, businesses issued with improvement notices fornoise can end up in court if they don’t comply.

Grace adds: “Those firms familiar with the demands of noiseat work legislation are already taking action, but those notswitched on to it tend to respond only when the enforcementauthorities get involved.

“There is often a delay between legislation beingimplemented and action being taken in the workplace. While noiseis an important issue, companies will focus more on obvious healthand safety hazards such as working at height or chemicalsafety.

“However, damage to hearing at work remains a significantrisk to business in terms of potential claims and managers need toknow what actions to take now.”

For further information about noise and vibration courses, contactNorwich Union Risk Services on Tel: 0500 55 99 77.


For further information, please contact:

Jon Clements at Staniforth on 0161 274 0100/ 07989414486 
Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670

Notes to editors:

About Norwich Union Insurance

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14%
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    - One-in-five households
    - One-in-seven motor vehicles
    - Around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, recentlyannounced its acquisition of the RAC. The acquisition bringstogether the RAC's powerful brand and customer base with theexpertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich UnionInsurance
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre at
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 01603 682264.

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