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April 25, 2005

Stop that noise!

EU campaign focuses on noise in the workplace by handing out awards to companies and organizations taking special measures to combat hazardous noise.

The campaign and the awards are part of the annual European Week for Safety and Health at Work held in 25 European countries and sponsored by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Noise is the subject of this year's campaign.

The campaign titled 'Stop that noise! Noise at work - it can cost you more than your hearing', was launched on the International Noise Awareness Day, the 20th of April. The official European Week for Safety and Health at Work, including informational activities takes place from the 24th through the 28th of October.

"Noise at the workplace is still too often viewed as a necessary evil, and, as its effects are not instantaneous, it is not considered a priority. The truth is noise does have a devastating impact on our health and it affects not only workers at steelworks or construction sites, but also millions of people employed in the service sector, e.g. in education, entertainment, or call centres", said Agency for Safety and Health at Work director Hans-Horst Konkolewsky.

Hazardous noise overlooked
According to the agency, there is a great need for dealing with this often overlooked problem.

"An estimated one third of Europe's workers (more than 60 million people) are
exposed to noisy conditions for more than a quarter of their working time. Almost 40 million - an equivalent to the entire population of Spain - for at least half of their working hours," Konkolewsky explained.

Noise reduction competition
The efforts to combat noise in the European workplaces are to culminate in the awarding of prizes for innovative initiatives to reduce hazardous noise at work. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has invited companies and organizations to compete for the sixth European Good Practice Awards.

"With the European directive on noise to be implemented early next year, it is high time to take more decisive measures to "stop that noise". We hope the good practice awards will demonstrate, by example, that work-related noise can be effectively controlled", said Konkolewsky.

Read more about the campaign against noise and the awards atew2005.osha.eu.int.

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