Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

Sound and Vision

Attended my first ever RSNO Board meeting today, and was fascinated to learn that orchestras are having to prepare for new health and safety rules on control of noise at work. It really does come into the category of you couldn’t make it up – whilst not denying that damage to hearing through exposure to unacceptable noise levels is a workplace issue and deserves to be fully risk assessed, I never in a million years imagined that it would apply to musicians.

Until April 2008 the music and entertainment sector remains under the Noise at Work Regulations 1989. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 then come into force. Representatives from the music and entertainment sector are preparing specific guidance with support from the Health and Safety Executive. And if you think I’m making this up, look at this

Potentially, players could have to wear earplugs, performances of particularly noisy pieces could be rationed, acoustic screens could shield the timpani from the clarinets and rehearsals would be softly, softly play it lightly gigs. Am unsure if this applies to rock and pop musicians as strictly speaking they’re not employees so I think their self-employed status means they’re exempt.

Bizarrely this protection doesn’t apply to the audiences, prompting the thought that programmes might carry a government health warning : listening to the 1812 overture could seriously damage your aural health.. Watching Glastonbury from the comfort of my sofa (never been a festival goer, enduring mud and tents and insanitary conditions to watch bands – why ?). Minded to buy Rufus Wainwright cd’s tomorrow, and loved his and Martha’s interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Halleluiah” (West Wing anoraks – which episode does this remind you of ?). Arcade Fire were also superb, have never seen them live but hope to put that right one day..



June 22, 2007 - Posted by | music

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