Bringing solutions providers and potential users more closer together

Around 60 million employees in Europe are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise for at least a quarter of their work time. Besides, noise-induced hearing loss is still accounting for about one third of all work-related diseases. In 2005, the European Week for Safety and Health at Work focused on the issue of noise at work, under the slogan, “Stop that noise!”. The Closing Event organized in December 2005 in Bilbao by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work attracted 500 participants and stressed the need for increasing efforts.

The 2003/10/EC Directive on minimum health and safety requirements for noise exposure is currently being transposed in all Member States. The main changes brought by the Directive are the more stringent action levels (which are lowered from 85 dBA and 90 dBA to 80 dBA and 85 dBA respectively), as well as the introduction of a noise exposure limit of 87 dBA.

During the last three decades, considerable knowledge has been gained in understanding the noise production of machines and processes, leading to significant improvements in reducing sound levels in several sectors of industry or services. As a result, practical solutions, that often involve only modest expenses, have been developed in the various sectors involved. However, wide-ranging diffusion of this knowledge has not yet been achieved.

This Forum aims to improve the dissemination of knowledge in all sectors where occupational noise is an issue and bring solutions providers and potential users more closer together, through the following objectives:
• reviewing the basic rules for noise control applied to sources, machines and buildings,
• gathering and disseminating rules of good practice already existing in the main sectors of industry and services,
• exhibiting and demonstrating low noise machines or processes,
• illustrating the effectiveness of new materials and systems for noise control at work, including advanced hearing protections,
• offering a platform of exchanges between individuals within similar sectors and also inducing cross fertilization among sectors, industries and research,
• initiating new dissemination processes.