IOSH members learn about noise controls for police firearms instructors

Safety and health professionals heard how Greater Manchester Police (GMP) prevents firearms instructors from suffering from the effects of regular exposure to loud noises.

Philip Grundy (left) presents an award to Andrew Stephenson at the meeting.
Philip Grundy (left) presents an award to Andrew Stephenson at the meeting.

The force’s Health and Safety Adviser Andrew Stephenson gave a presentation to a meeting of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Manchester Branch Public Services Section.

He spoke about how they measure noise levels and the controls they put in place as a result of it. 

With instructors dealing with firearms on a regular basis, the force operates a hierarchy of noise controls, Andrew said. This starts with controlling the noise at source and looking to reduce the exposure time to the noise. 

The last part of the hierarchy is choosing personal hearing protection, including the correct ways of using and fitting it. Other items of personal protective equipment were discussed, including glasses, helmets and respirators.

Philip Grundy, Chair of the IOSH branch’s Public Services Section, said the event gave very useful information to members on how they can ensure that workers in their own organisation do not suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

He said: “There are many industries in which people have to work with high noise levels. It is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that measures are put in place to prevent their health being impacted on.

“Andrew’s presentation was very interesting and informative. Police firearms instructors naturally experience loud noises as they are going about their duty. But that doesn’t mean they should suffer as a result. 

“Greater Manchester Police has in place a series of controls as part of its culture of care. This system can be transferred to other industries.”

GMP runs an IOSH-accredited course for firearms instructors. It also runs a course on exposure to biohazards, Andrew told delegates at the meeting held on Tuesday 12 January.

He explained the types of micro-organisms, including viruses, bacteria and fungi, that can harm people and how exposure can occur during police activities. This included working near rodents and being exposed to blood and bodily fluids.


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