Noise Levels before Medical

T-H

Badgeman
#1
Ok, things are progressing well, RT passed, eye test booked and medical a week after that. However, reading through the notes for the medical, it states that I should not be around loud noises/machinery for two days prior to the medical.

This presents me with a problem: my current job means I am constantly working with noise levels around 95-105 decibels. In order to avoid it I'd have to take two unpaid days off work beforehand. How important is it to be in a quiet environment beforehand?

Thanks
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#2
It depends whether it affects your hearing to the extent your hearing loss falls below the required standard for entry.

The obvious answer, if you want the job, is to maximise the chance of passing each element of selection first time.

If you take the test & fail, then you could theoretically re-take it, having avoided a noisy environment beforehand - it just depends whether you want to run the risk of having to undertake the test twice.
 

T-H

Badgeman
#3
Requested the two days off, straight refusal from the boss. As far as I'm aware my hearing isn't unduly affected, I may try using earplugs though for those two days.
 
#5
Requested the two days off, straight refusal from the boss. As far as I'm aware my hearing isn't unduly affected, I may try using earplugs though for those two days.
With those noise levels I would suggest you use earplugs all the time :-D
 

T-H

Badgeman
#6
AFCO Redruth only do Tuesdays or Thursdays for medicals. I wish I could wear earplugs or ear defenders all the time at work, but I need to be able to talk to customers on a very regular basis. Hazard of the job I suppose.
 
A

angrydoc

Guest
#7
Health & Safety At Work would require ear duffs at that noise level. You're risking your own health by not wearing. Your employer should mandate its use.

As NS has said, you want to maximise your chance of a good pass. I would suggest wearing hearing protection for the days leading to your medical, if not permanently. Pain in the ass, maybe, but rather that than a hearing aid at 30 and a fail for preventable hearing loss.
 
#8
AFCO Redruth only do Tuesdays or Thursdays for medicals. I wish I could wear earplugs or ear defenders all the time at work, but I need to be able to talk to customers on a very regular basis. Hazard of the job I suppose.
From the HSE site.
An action level is basically a noise exposure level at which employers are required to take certain steps to reduce the harmful effects of noise on hearing. There are two main action levels for continuous Noise:

The lower exposure action value is a daily or weekly average noise exposure level of 80 dB, at which the employer has to provide information and training and make hearing protection available.
The upper exposure action value is set at a daily or weekly average noise exposure of 85 dB, above which the employer is required to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce noise exposure, such as engineering controls or other technical measures. The use of hearing protection is also mandatory if the noise cannot be controlled by these measures, or while these measures are being planned or carried out.
Finally there is an exposure limit value of 87 dB, above which no worker can be exposed (taking hearing protection into account).
I doubt that you are being exposed to above 80 dB, unless you and your customers have to shout at each other in order to be heard. Have a look at this chart to see what are representative noises for different dB levels.
 
#11
Where do you work that has such high noise levels? I don't know who took the readings but I would suggest they do it again or call in H&S and get it re-assessed.
 
#13
Ok, just been out with a decibel meter:
Average noise level: 91.7db
Maximum: 101.2db
Minimum: 82.1db

Time for a meeting with the boss I think.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
 
#14
T-H

This is entirely my personal opinion.

I think that the meeting with the boss can wait until after you have spoken to Redruth.

I suggested earlier in the thread that you ring the AFCO at Redruth and ask for your medical to be rebooked for April 26th.

The reasoning behind this is that April 26th is a Tuesday, but, more than that, it is the Tuesday after Easter. You have said that Redruth only do medicals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am assuming that you will not be working over Easter, so, if your medical is on the 26th, you will not have been at work for probably 4 days.

Once you have had the medical rebooked, then you can approach your boss, but I would avoid a confrontational approach. There may be someone above you who can broach the subject for you or even a union.

Entirely my own personal opinion.
 
#15
Sorry soleil, I did see what you'd wrote but I forgot to reply.

Unfortunately I am working over Easter, and the May Bank Holiday afterwards.

As I work for a small company the only person above me is the boss. I know how to broach the subject with him, whether he will take any notice is quite another thing. I could of course find work elsewhere, but no other company will give me the hours I want (70hrs p/w, opted out of working time directive).
 

Fleet_Sprog

Lantern Swinger
#18
Your boss is breaking the law. The extract below has been taken from a university dissertation for a Degree in pollution control. Having worked in machinery spaces for 23 years I have never entered them without ear protection, hence I have never failed a hearing test and we are tested annually. If you are working in those noise levels without ear protection then you are a mug.

The control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 introduces three action levels that the employer must obey. The First Action level is 80 dB(A) where if requested by the employee the employer must provide hearing protection. The maximum peak sound pressure that the employees can be exposed to is 135 dB(A).

The second action level is 85dB(A) with a peak sound pressure of 137 dB(A)and this is where the duty is on the employer to reduce the risk of NIHL in their employees.

Lastly the noise levels should not exceed 87dB(A), weekly or daily, with a peak sound pressure 140 dB(A).
 
#19
Spoke to the boss today, he has agreed to let me have the two days off after I explained the reasons why and asked about whether he would consider ways to reduce noise levels to acceptable levels.

Fleet_sprog, do those rules apply outdoors?
 

Fleet_Sprog

Lantern Swinger
#20
They apply to any working environment. Indoors or outdoors. If it isn't economically viable to reduce the noise levels by enclosure or modification he must provide you with protection. If you suffer NIHL (noise induced hearing loss) due to the lack of protection you will have him over a barrel. However I would rather have my hearing than a few grand.
 

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