People who work or perform in pubs or clubs where amplified music is played are likely to experience high noise levels and regular exposure to high levels of noise causing permanent hearing damage.
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Both Employers and employees working in pubs and clubs have responsibilities to protect the hearing of all employees. This includes bar staff, performers and crew, including guest performers and DJs. Where it is reasonably practicable, good acoustic design of the premises needs to be incorporated at the earliest possible time to minimise exposure to unnecessary noise and is usually cost-effective. For example:
Design & layout of the premises: Simple changes can help to overcome inadequate acoustic design and minimise unnecessary exposure to employees
Volume: Controls are often turned up too high and the sound equipment is distorting the music
Length of exposure:The duration of the person's exposure to noise is as important as the noise level
Type of performance: Different acts using different equipment will create different noise levels
Employers need carry out a noise risk assessment (Where live amplified music is performed or loud amplified recorded music played, you may assume that you need to take action). You must then take steps to reduce and control people's exposure to noise. People can still enjoy the music with these controls in place.
Steps you can take to reduce people's exposure to noise include:
Acoustic controls: help to absorb reverberant noise
Physical separation: keep employees away from noisy areas
Direction controls: point the sound where you want it - the dance floor or performance area, and away from bars and other areas
Volume control: keep all equipment in good working condition and make it clear who can use the volume controls
Managing exposure: reduce the length of time to which individuals are exposed to noise
Information, instruction and training: make sure everyone understands what you are doing about noise, and why it is important
Hearing protection: only after you have looked at all other ways of controlling noise or while you are implementing a more permanent solution
Hearing health checks: make sure people who are at risk are regularly monitored