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Industrial Health and Safety: Noise

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many inspections the Health and Safety Executive made for compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (139155)

This information is only available from the year 2002-03 for those instances where, as part of a HSE Field Operations Directorate inspection, noise was discussed in order to ensure compliance with relevant statutory provisions relating to noise (including the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 and, from 6 April 2006 the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005). The figures for each of the years from 2002-03 are provided as follows. The level of HSE inspection activity on this topic has remained broadly similar as a percentage of total inspections carried out since 2002-03. In the last four years HSE has undertaken fewer, but more focused and longer, inspections targeted at priority areas known to cause the greatest numbers of injuries and cases of ill health (including noise).

Number of HSE inspections made in relation to compliance with statutory provision relating to noise at work

Number of noise related inspections

Total number of inspections

Noise as percentage of total

2002-03

10,454

69,628

15

2003-04

8,430

68,604

12

2004-05

7,022

55,195

13

2005-06

5,318

53,274

10

2006-07

5,591

136,260

15

1 The total number of inspections for 2006-07 is provisional.

Note:

All data is taken from HSE’s work recording systems and the years run from 1 April to 31 March. Figures for the total number of inspections in 2005-06 and 2006-07 are minimum numbers and because of a change to arrangements for recording the number of inspections made during these years are not directly comparable with the numbers for earlier years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many companies the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted in each of the last 10 years for non-compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations 1989. (139156)

The following table sets out the number of proceedings instituted by HSE under the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, 1996-97 to 2005-06.

Number of companies prosecuted

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

2

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

1

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Note:

All years run from 1 April to 31 March.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to provide guidance to the music and entertainment industry on the implementation of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 in April 2008; and if he will make a statement. (139157)

Representatives of the music and entertainment sectors, with support from the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities, are developing specific, practical advice on controlling noise at work under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, which will apply to these sectors from 6 April 2008. The final guidance should be available by February 2008. Employers need information on the simple and straightforward actions they can take to protect workers. Regular exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing damage which for employees, including musicians and performers, can jeopardise their careers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many venues on the Public Entertainment Licence Register have been inspected to ensure compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 in the last 12 months. (139158)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities do not use the Public Entertainment Licence Register as the basis for recording premises inspected to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation. Therefore the information requested is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many venues on the Public Entertainment Licence Register he estimates will be inspected by April 2009 to ensure that they are complying with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. (139160)

The HSE and local authorities do not use the Public Entertainment Licence Register as the basis for planning inspections of premises in relation to compliance with health and safety legislation. Therefore the information requested is not available. Plans for proactive inspection work in 2008-09 have not yet been agreed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many venues on the Public Entertainment Licence Register have been served staff improvement notices as a result of Health and Safety Executive inspections in relation to the Noise at Work Regulations 1989. (139161)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not record the number of improvement notices issued against venues on the Public Entertainment Licence Register and therefore the information requested is not available. However HSE figures show that between 1996-97 and 2005-06 a total of 1,650 improvement notices were issued by HSE with respect to the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were awarded compensation for damage to their hearing from exposure to loud music in nightclubs under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in each of the last five years. (139163)

A breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act does not generally give rise to civil liability. However a breach of the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 or the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 may (provided damage results). HSE does not routinely collect information regarding private civil claims for compensation (even when breach of Health and Safety Regulations are the basis of any such claim). Therefore this information is not available except at disproportionate cost.