New research unveiled by audio device experts Jabra reveals a worrying level of confusion surrounding compliance with EU Control of Noise at Work legislation, designed to protect employees hearing from excessive noise at their place of work.

Less than one in three managers (32%) say their contact centres are compliant with the EU legal guidelines. A further 47% say they comply to a degree and just over one in 5, (21%) either do not comply, or are unsure if they comply.

• Only 32% of contact centres are fully compliant with the legislation

• Just 53% provide agents with headsets that provide adequate protection against acoustic shock

Perhaps not surprisingly given these findings, 62% say they have received customer feedback about background noise on calls and 67% say agents have complained about the level of background noise in their work environment.

In addition, 23% of senior contact centre managers say they have either suffered acoustic shock, (unexpected loud noises that have caused temporary or long-term pain or discomfort), or know of others who have experienced acoustic shock. 42% say they have not experienced acoustic shock but are concerned about the possible impact it may have in their contact centre.

Only 12% of contact centres in our survey say they measure sound regularly to check that sound levels are always within acceptable limits as required by the legislation. Just under half (47%) put up partitions to limit sound travel and 26% use soft furnishings to help cancel out some noise. 

The research also revealed that a worrying number of call centres are failing to provide their frontline agents with adequate protection via their headsets: just 53% say they provide contact centre workers with a headset that delivers adequate acoustic protection. Alarmingly 39% felt that providing a duo headset to cut out background noise was sufficient to protect workers from acoustic shock when on calls. 

Jabra has released a guide to help contact centres protect their frontline employees by providing adequate protection against noise in the call centre environment. Jabra’s Managing Director, Andrew Doyle, commented: 

“Our research reveals a need for clear guidance for contact centres, to ensure compliance with the EU Control of Noise at Work legislation. By the nature of their work, call centre employees can be exposed to unacceptably high levels of sound in the workplace, either due to background noise or unexpected loud noises that can cause long-term damage to agents’ hearing. Our handbook outlines clear steps to ensure compliance for any contact centre that thinks they may be exposing their workers to hearing damage.”




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