The HSE have recently highlighted how workplace noise could be contributing to stress levels in employees working in the hospitality industry. Businesses in this industry are being urged by the HSE to reassess noise levels as they fear this could be contributing to workplace stress. This comes after a recent survey which exposed restaurants in London as having the highest workplace noise levels in Europe.
Assessing for workplace noise
According to a recent article, over half of the restaurants tested had noise levels over 76 decibels, which is around the same loudness as a lawn mower. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the noise levels during peak times often exceeded 80dBA.
Workplace noise is regulated by the HSE and the ‘Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005’. This states that employers must assess risk to employee health when noise reaches a level of 80dBA. At these noise levels, information and training should be provided to staff. However, if these noise levels reach 85dBA, employers are legally required to provide hearing protection and specialist hearing protection zones.
The HSE is now working alongside ‘The Burnt chef Project’ to raise awareness of the signs of stress within hospitality workers. This looks to specifically address when noise levels reach a dangerous level so that employers can respond to and reduce any risk to workplace health.
Adding to unsociable hours and tough working conditions, the hospitality sector needs to now be aware that they face legal obligations to protect their employees from noise. A combination of these conditions could lead to rising levels of stress and employee burnout.
The HSE remains committed to looking after employee mental health and wellbeing as much as physical health and safety, commenting that “We need to make looking after our mental health just as routine as managing safety at work. The first thing for employers to be aware of is that the law requires employers to assess the potential risk from work related stress and act on it.” (cite)
Workplace noise is a hazard, not just a nuisance
As part of our range of occupational hygiene services, we regularly visit our customers’ sites to measure workplace and environmental noise. From an overall perspective, workplace noise can contribute to many health problems that can make working hazardous. Employers have a legal duty to ensure their employees have a safe working environment to both reduce worker health problems, and also to protect their business.
Many businesses fall into the trap of thinking that something will never happen on their premises. However, last year alone the HSE has fined UK businesses £26.9 million (cite) for breaches of health and safety.
Businesses in the hospitality industry that haven’t yet had a workplace noise assessment, really need to be planning for one ASAP.
Need help with workplace noise or any of our other occupational hygiene services? Contact us here or give one of our qualified technicians a call on 0845 004 2123.