Are younger workers at greater risk from noise on a building site?
When we’re speaking with tradespeople and building firms about PPE one question that often comes up is how are different ages affected by noise hazards on building sites? It may surprise you to know that younger construction workers are a lot more vulnerable to noise hazards than older workers.
European Law determines how much noise a worker can be exposed to on site and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work have produced a document entitled “Noise – advice for young workers” which details what you need to be doing to protect the hearing of younger construction workers whilst providing some useful information surrounding the symptoms of hearing damage through noise hazards.
Ringing, whining and buzzing noises in the ears are the normal sounds a younger person will experience when exposed to high levels of noise on a construction site, however they may also have the sensation of pain in their ears, or feeling as though they've got cotton wool in their ears or they may even have difficulty in hearing once the noise has ceased.
It’s important to constantly question younger workers when they’re operating in a noisy construction environment to determine their susceptibility to noise hazards whilst insisting that an individual working in an environment of prolonged noise exposure (even when wearing hearing protection) should take regular breaks to allow their hearing to recover.
European regulations ensure that construction workers under the age of 18 cannot carry out a task where there is a risk to their health from noise or from vibration (European Union Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994). The European Union Directive 86/188/EEC applies to all workers and stipulates that employers must protect their workforce from the risks associated with the exposure to noise in the workplace.
As younger workers’ hearing is often still maturing when the worker starts his first role on a construction it is important that you provide additional hearing protection equipment and support to ensure the ear plugs or ear defenders are properly used.
As a builders merchants in Longridge, Lancashire, we supply a vast range of quality personal protective equipment to tradespeople and building firms throughout the UK, including ear defenders and ear plugs from some of the world's leading noise hazard mitigation product manufacturers. Please view our full range of hearing protection equipment or speak to one of our PPE experts on 01772 786000.