Hosts risk legal action over noise

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Noise levels, Employment, Hse

by Tony Halstead Licensees and bar operators could face compensation claims from staff if they can show excessive noise levels in pubs and clubs have...

by Tony Halstead Licensees and bar operators could face compensation claims from staff if they can show excessive noise levels in pubs and clubs have damaged their hearing. It follows a new report from the Health & Safety Executive which concludes noise exposure in licensed premises has a "definite potential for harm to employees." The HSE says the leisure industry has been slow to take action to protect staff from the effects of loud amplified music ­ and thereis a need to educate owners and employees on noise levels and noise exposure in pubs and clubs. It recommends that pub and club owners should be supplied with documentation on the dangers of noise levels. And it says guidance should be given to local authority inspectors to enforce the Noise At Work Regulations 1989. Andie Michael, HSE noise policy advisor, said: "There are two issues here. The first is protecting the hearing of those at work ­ for which there is already existing legislation and guidance. It applies as much in pubs and clubs as it does in a noisy factory. "The second is protecting the public. The report is saying that people who spend a lot of time in places that play loud amplified music should know they risk damaging their hearing." The HSE is now considering how to take the issue forward in partnership with other Government departments and industry and employee representatives. Michael Ball, employment partner at law firm Halliwell Landau, said employers have a duty toprovide a safe place of work. "Subjecting staff to unacceptable levels of noise could be a breach of the Health & Safety regulations and could lead to personal injury claims for compensation for loss of or damage to hearing. "Employers should not delay in carrying out a risk assessment and, in particular, an assessment of whether the level of noise in their premises is too high. If it is, careful consideration needs to be given to the practical measures that can be taken to avoid placing staff at risk.

Related topics: Legislation

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