20 December 2007

Ringing in Christmas

When Christmas bells are ringing your ears may suffer.

For centuries, church bells were operated manually. Through the ages, bell ringers paid the price for the high noise levels and lost their hearing.

The loud noise of church bells also affect working conditions and the Danish Work Environment Board has directed a number of churches to take corrective action against excessive noise levels.

The recommended maximum daily noise level for bell ringing is 85 dB. In some churches, the Work Environment Board has recorded noise levels as high as 100 dB, the same level found in the noisiest industrial plants.

The Work Environment Board has prepared a guide for the Danish churches with suggested steps to remedy the problem. The most obvious is the installation of automated bell ringing. A simpler remedy is adding to the length of the rope, allowing the bell to be rung from a greater distance.

Several churches have chosen to install automated ringing, and the end of era of the bell ringer may just be a matter of time.

Sources: www.hoerelse.info; Danish Work Enviroment Board (Arbejdstilsynet)

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