Ahead of Noise Action Week, taking place 22 – 27 May, Bureau Veritas is urging companies to reassess whether they are fully compliant in line with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (CoNAWR).

Since the introduction of the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on health and safety offences, in February 2016, there has been a spate of prosecutions and increasingly high financial penalties hitting businesses across England, Wales and Scotland. In particular, recent breaches in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (CoNAWR) and have been widely reported.

Ric Cope, technical director of acoustics & vibration at Bureau Veritas, said: “What’s concerning is that despite the fact the CoNAWR has been an obligation that has been in place for more than ten years now, we are still seeing compliance breaches in the workplace.

“The Sentencing Council has not been shy of acting on their new guidelines with repercussions being swift and significant – and as a result we’ve witnessed fines reach record levels in the past year.

“In the wake of the first anniversary of the introduction of the guidelines, it is critical that employers are made aware of some of the common compliance issues in the workplace that can be easily rectified, ensuring the safety of employees and protecting companies from fines that could ultimately put them out of business.”

When sentencing health and safety crimes under the new guidelines, the following criteria is considered against a tiered table of penalties; the size of the company, the degree of harm risked and culpability. Financial factors such as profit margin or impact on employees are also considered as part of a total of nine steps that must be assessed in order to arrive at an appropriate fine.

Ric adds: “It’s imperative that employers are vigilant and stay on top of health and safety obligations, ensuring that an appropriate and adequate strategy is in place, which in-turn will protect employees and help achieve long-term compliance.

“Understandably, it can be overwhelming for companies to manage this process, which is why as a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) services, Bureau Veritas has the experience, knowhow and professional expertise to help companies reduce risk and build a responsible, safe and sustainable business.”

Bureau Veritas has a specialist Acoustics and Vibration Group that offer a full scale of consultative services to a wide range of clients across varied industry sectors; with the common goal of achieving compliance with legislation and best practice. These experts can provide specialist help with regards to assessing the exposures and risks from noise in the workplace, from conducting full risk assessments on site to recommending and implementing a noise control engineering strategy.

Assessments are carried out in accordance with CoNAWR and provide suitable recommendations and advice as to how to reduce noise levels in the workplace to as low as reasonably practicable and identify at risk personnel, and advise on the best methods to remove or minimise that risk. This can take place at an individual business site or across a business’s portfolio of sites.