Noise control campaign (2007-2008)

HSE (Health & Safety Executive) inspectors addressed noise during 2007-8 in three priority industry sectors. They expected to see evidence of reduction of noise risks to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable. Where noise risks remain, inspectors will be looking for evidence that the risks are being managed adequately and that suitable hearing protection and health surveillance is in place.

The following products are useful for providing a warning when noise levels are sufficiently high that hearing protection should be worn.  

Noise Activated Warning Sign -GA902    
  dBAlert – Personal Noise Activated Warning Unit 


  Follow the HSE industry links below for information on established good practice for managing noise risks.

  Plastic products  –  Woodworking  –  Concrete and cement products

Each industry page includes information on established practical noise control methods for particular high noise activities and processes. Information on general management of noise risks and links to further information & case studies.


The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (the Noise Regulations) came into force for all industry sectors in the UK in April 2006 (except for the music and entertainment sectors where they come into force on 6 April 2008).

The aim of the Noise Regulations is to ensure that worker are protected from excessive noise levels at their place of work, which may cause hearing damage or tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears).

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 replace the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 except for the music and entertainment sectors where the 1989 Regulations will continue to apply until 6 April 2008.

Employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones at noise levels of 85 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure) and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers health and provide them with information and training is now 80 decibels. Workers must not be exposed to a noise level of more than 87 decibels, taking into account any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection.

The full text of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and the full text of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 1989 can be viewed online.

Guidance on the 2005 Regulations can be found in the free HSE leaflet Noise at Work (INDG362 (rev 1) [240kb] and in HSEs  book Controlling Noise at Work (L108) (ISBN 0-7176-6164-4) available from HSE Books or from bookshops, price 13.95.

Guidance on the 1989 Regulations (currently only relevant to the music and entertainment sectors) can be found in old versions of L108 Reducing Noise at Work (ISBN 0-7176-1511-1). A summary of the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 is provided in Noise at Work advice for employers [409kb]

Background to the Noise Regulations

Both the 1989 and the 2005 sets of noise regulations are based on European Union Directives requiring similar basic laws throughout the Union on protecting workers from the health risks caused by noise. They do not apply to members of the public exposed to noise from their non-work activities, or when they make an informed choice to go to noisy places or from nuisance noise.

The 2005 Noise Regulations replace the 1989 Noise Regulations and introduce new requirements for action to be taken by employers. For example, the 2005 Regulations require employers to take action to protect workers at levels of noise 5 decibels lower than in the 1989 Regulations and now require health surveillance (hearing checks) for workers regularly exposed above 85 decibels.

Thousands of employees are exposed to loud noise at work and there is a risk of damage to their hearing. Compliance with the Noise Regulations will protect workers hearing.