May 18 2004 The Health and Safety Commission has published a consultative document on the proposed regulations and guidance implementing the European Physical Agents (Noise) Directive. It is estimated they will extend protection to around one million new workers.

The main changes from the existing regulations are the reduction by 5 decibels (dB) of the exposure levels at which action has to be taken. The new exposure levels will be 80 dB and 85 dB, with a limit of 87 dB on personal noise exposure. For most employers, the new regulations will come into force in February 2006.

Proposals for new Control of Noise at Work Regulations implementing the Physical Agents (Noise) Directive (2003/10/EC) (ref: CD196) is available from

Comments to Andie Michael, Hazards and Technical Policy Division, Health and Safety Executive, 6th Floor, North Wing, Rose Court,
2 Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HS, by 21 June 2004.