These new Regulations will come into force on 6 April 2006.
When the Physical Agents (Noise) Directive is implemented by these new regulations, the first action level will be 80 dB(A) and the peak value of 112 Pascals, the second action level will be 85 dB(A) and 140 Pascals, and there will be a limited value of 87 dB(A) and 200 Pascals.
The HSE have not yet produced any new guidance on this but we will report when this is available.
Control of vibration at work regulations 2005
These came into force on 6 July 2005. They implement the Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive. They will only be fully enforced on 5 July 2010 for equipment provided prior to 6 July 2007, thus allowing designers and manufacturers to factor vibration safety into design.
The Regulations deal with two distinct types of vibration hazard:
- Hand/arm vibration (HAV), which affects people using handheld or hand guided power tools or material that vibrates when fed into machines.
- Whole body vibration (WBV). This affects people standing or sitting on industrial machines or moving vehicles that transmit vibration and shock to the driver/operator. Long term exposure to WBV is associated with lower back pain. A regulation specifies daily levels of exposure over an assumed eight-hour period where employers are now required to take action to control the risks.
Employers should note the need for health surveillance to prevent or diagnose any health effects linked with exposure to vibration where a link can be established between that exposure and an identifiable disease or adverse health affect, so long as there are valid techniques for detecting the disease or effect.
The Regulations incorporate the HSE Guidance on HAV. The new Guidance was published on 4 October 2005. A copy is being purchased for each office.
We flagged this up some months ago soon after the General Election. A White Paper on legal service reform is expected soon, and the results are expected to inform drafting of the Compensation Bill. The Bill will include, so we are lead to believe, only two key elements: regulation of claims management companies, and a so called “declaratory statement” designed to explain the law on compensation and when it can be claimed.
Why we need an Act of Parliament to explain the law is difficult to comprehend, but we understand that the aim of the declaratory statement is to reassure groups such as volunteers and teachers that there is no need to curtail activities because of the false assumption that they can automatically be sued if something goes wrong.
NHS guide to manual handling
For those dealing with lifting cases in the health service, the NHS have published a guide to best practice in manual handling which can be found at www.nhs.uk/backinwork.
Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to give evidence in Civil Claims produced by Civil Justice Council can be accessed online at www.civiljusticecouncil.gov.uk/914.htm