Keighley Furniture Firm Fined for Excessive Noise Levels

Fibreline Limited, a company which manufactures feather, foam and fibre filled products for the furniture industry, has recently been found guilty of exposing its employees to excessive levels of noise without suitable hearing protection.

Based in Keighley, West Yorkshire, Fibreline employs over 140 people. On 7 October 2014 the Health & Safety Executive successfully prosecuted the company at Bradford County Court.

Employers have a legal duty to assess the levels of noise that their employees are subjected to. If noise levels exceed an average of 85 decibels, employers have to provide workers with hearing protection.

An investigation by the HSE identified that Fibreline had not carried out a suitable noise assessment at their premises at any time between 2006 and 2013.

In 2008 the company started using a third machine to produce feather pillows. This caused noise levels to be between two and three times higher than legal limits. Noise levels also became excessive in 2001 when two noisy glue spraying booths were placed next to each other.

Fibreline did not provide hearing protection to its workers nor did it have a health surveillance programme for noise screening until 2013.

Discussing the case, HSE Inspector David Welsh said:

“Prolonged exposure to excessive and often constant levels of noise where people work day after day is a recognised threat to health and can lead to noise-induced hearing loss – a condition that can be severely debilitating.

“It is very important for employers to do what is required to prevent employees from being exposed to potentially harmful noise levels.  If such exposure cannot be prevented, then they must ensure that workers are wearing the right kind of personal hearing protection and receive regular health checks.”

Fibreline was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,457 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.


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