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#1 Posted : 11 October 2000 11:43:00(UTC)
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Posted By Mr Tony Fowler
Our hospital fire alarms are necessarily loud and adjusted to achieve the balance between being effective and not deafening people. They are tested every week and sound in close proximity to people at 8.30am. In general I suppose this is something we just have to put up with. However, we have a member of staff who's normal place of work is right next to an alarm and who suffers from Tinnitus, which is aggrevated by the noise. I've suggested he adjusts his working day by 15 - 20 minutes on a Tuesday or wears ear protection.
Any thoughts?
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#2 Posted : 11 October 2000 12:48:00(UTC)
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Posted By Jim Walker
Tony,

I think you must ensure this person is not subject to such an obvious hazard.
Ear defenders are not good enough, in my view they are the resort of the unimaginative and idle. It would
seem reasonably practicable for him not to be at his work station during the test period.
I speak as someone who is totally deaf and suffers from tinnnitus. The deafness I find easy to live with. The tinnitus is another matter.Personally, if my employers aggravated the situation I would sue the ****** off them.

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#3 Posted : 12 October 2000 10:14:00(UTC)
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Posted By Mr Tony Fowler
Thanks Jim. I don't know much about deafness at all, so here's a daft question for you. Even though you are totally deaf does noise affect your tinnitus?
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#4 Posted : 12 October 2000 10:44:00(UTC)
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Posted By Jim Walker
Hi Tony,
No for me, it has no effect. This is because I have nerve deafness, the nerves receiving the sound are destroyed. This is basically what happens when frequently exposed to high levels of noise. My deafness is not however due to noise exposure - I'm just well aware of the consequences. My tinnitus is worse (it never actually is not there) when I'm tired or stressed. I suspect your employee would suffer from high level tinnitus for between 1 -24 hours following the alarm test; it's just not on is it?
I hope you will do all you can for your employee as although unseen, it is a very unpleasant affliction.

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#5 Posted : 12 October 2000 12:52:00(UTC)
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Posted By Mr Tony Fowler
Thanks again Jim
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#6 Posted : 13 October 2000 10:15:00(UTC)
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Posted By Stuart Nagle
The following ideas may help resolve the issue:

1) change the alarm testing time to a time when the person is not present

2) Provide prior warning to the person to enable him/her to move away from the alarm

3) (best solution)move the alarm location to a more suitable position.

4) (best possible alternate solution) relocate the person away from the alarm

If satisfactory action is not taken, be prepared for a claim against the employer....

Stuart Nagle
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#7 Posted : 04 November 2000 12:33:00(UTC)
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Posted By Craig Godwin
Tony,

I suggest you look at the Safety Signs and Signals Regs. for further guidance on this. Schedule 1, part 1 says "If the hearing ....of the workers concerned is impaired, including impairment by the use of personal protective equipment, measures must be taken to supplement or replace the signs concerned". Part VII goes on to say that that acoustic signals must have a sound level which is considerably higher than the level of ambient noise, so that it is audible without being excessive or painful. The guidance section suggests "considerably higher" to be 10dB above ambient noise levels. You might also look at Reg. 4, it's guidance, and Schedule 1 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs. 1999.

Hope this helps.

Craig Godwin
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#8 Posted : 06 November 2000 09:11:00(UTC)
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Posted By Mr Tony Fowler
Thanks Craig
Tony
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