Noise and Vibration

Share this page

Activist Resources

This guide gives information to health and safety representatives on
HAZARDS AT WORK
For more information on Asbestos click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Noise and vibration are among the most widespread and underestimated of industrial hazards.

Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage. Hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work continues to be a significant occupational disease. Recent research suggests 170,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work.

Factors that contribute to hearing damage are; noise levels and how long people are exposed to the noise, daily and over a number of years. Besides causing temporary or permanent hearing loss noise can also be a safety hazard. Noise can interfere with verbal communication, produce stress and affect performance.

Also anyone who regularly and frequently is exposed to high levels of vibration can suffer permanent injury. Vibration hazards at work usually present themselves in two forms:

- Whole body vibration (WBV) - where the body is shaken by a machine or vehicle
- or hand-arm vibration (HAV) - where the vibration effect is localised to a particular part of the body.

Exposure to hand-arm vibration may result in a range of health effects collectively known as Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS. The most well known is vibration white finger; other effects include damage to nerves, muscles and joints. A Medical Research Council survey in estimated 301,000 people suffer from vibration white finger (VWF) in Great Britain.

Whole body vibration is caused by vibration transmitted from machinery, vehicles or sometimes through the floor. The most widely reported WBV injury is back pain.

Links

TUC guidance for safety representatives

HSE noise pages

HSE: Hand arm and whole body vibration webpages

Worksmart FAQs and further resources

A Unite member who was exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work for over 25 years developed occupational deafness and tinnitus as a result.
19 April 2013
For the thousands of workers who suffer from industrial deafness – the topic for discussion at the Northern TUC Health and Safety Forum on Friday 28th September was of great importance. Many people assume the affects of exposure to excessive levels of noise affects mainly workers in heavy industry but...
02 October 2012
A British Telecom engineer from Sheffield who suffers from a high pitch buzzing in his ears after years of working with faulty equipment is warning others of the risks.
04 May 2012
Health and Safety newsletter 14 April 2012
13 April 2012
Over 1,500 workers who believe their hearing has been damaged by the use of high pitched noise fed through workplace headsets are taking action against their employers.
11 February 2011
A persistently noisy workplace more than doubles an employee's risk of serious heart disease, a new study has found.
08 October 2010
A persistently noisy workplace more than doubles an employee's risk of serious heart disease, a new study has found.
08 October 2010
A GMB member exposed to dangerous levels of workplace noise as a teenager apprentice is now reliant on two hearing aids at the age of 48.
02 April 2010
This guide gives information to health and safety representatives on what the law is and what they can do to ensure that their employer does not put the hearing of their workers at risk. Download Noise at Work guide [PDF]
01 March 2010
RNID and the TUC are warning employers and employees to take hearing damage more seriously now that the new Control of Noise at Work Regulations have come into effect today (6th April 2006). RNID and the TUC welcome the tighter Noise at Work regulations, which will provide improved protection for...
06 April 2006

Pages