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Deaf to sense?

Richard Hamilton reports on the
dangers of recreational noise, and new rules to protect workers in clubs and bars

14 November 2003

Are our clubs and bars too noisy? Although legislation has been successful at tackling exposure to occupational noise, recreational noise – particularly amplified music in clubs and bars – consistently exceeds permissible levels, leading to calls for tighter regulation to protect the hearing of both staff and clientele. Addressing the issue in July last year the General Secretary of the TUC, John Monks, said: “It can’t be right that manufacturing has to cut the noise levels and protect its workers’ health while pubs and clubs can carry on damaging the hearing of bar staff and musicians alike.” Existing regulations In theory, workers in the leisure industry already receive protection under Noise at Work Regulations 1989 but, in practice, mandatory hearing protection measures are seldom implemented. Under the 1989 Regulations, employers have a responsibility to reduce the risk of damage to their employees’ hearing as far as reasonably practical. Empl...

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