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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 57  |  Page : 86--90

Occupational noise exposure and regulatory adherence in music venues in the United Kingdom

School of Technology, Maritime and Technology Faculty, Southampton Solent University, East Park Terrace, Southampton-United Kingdom, SO14 0RD, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Christopher Barlow
School of Technology, Southampton Solent University, East Park Terrace, Southampton, SO14 0RD
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.95137

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Noise in most working environments is an unwanted by-product of the process. In most countries, noise exposure for workers has been controlled by legislation for many years. In the music industry the "noise" is actually the "desired" product, and for a long time the UK entertainment industry was exempt from these regulations. From April 2008, however, it became regulated under the Noise at Work Regulations 2005, meaning that employers from orchestras to nightclubs are legally required to adhere to the same requirements (based on ISO 9612:2009) for controlling noise exposure for their staff that have been applied to other industries for many years. A key question is to what degree, 2 years after implementation, these employers are complying with their legal responsibilities to protect the staff from noise? This study assessed four public music venues where live and/or recorded music is regularly played. Thirty staff members in different roles in the venues were monitored using noise dosimetry to determine noise exposure. Questionnaires were used to determine work patterns, attitudes to noise and hearing loss, and levels of training about noise risk. Results showed that the majority of staff (70%) in all venues exceeded the daily noise exposure limit value in their working shift. Use of hearing protection was rare (<30%) and not enforced by most venues. The understanding of the hazard posed by noise was low, and implementation of the noise regulations was haphazard, with staff regularly exceeding regulatory limits. The implication is that the industry is failing to meet regulatory requirements.


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