Despite years of concern being raised by the Union, and BT and CWU support and involvement in the Acoustic Research campaigns in 2005/2006, Acoustic Shock continues to damage the hearing of CWU members working in BT's call centres.
You can download information on the issue of acoustic safety and hearing problems from the Unionsafety e-Library
Meridian CWU Branch health and safety officer, Martin Shaw alerted the Union's Annual Telecoms and Financial Services (T&FS) Conference to the continuing episodes of acoustic shock problems that BT has been so far unable to resolve.
The definition of Acoustic Shock was determined following the 2005 Acoustic Safety Conference that the CWU's National Health, Safety, and Environment Officer Dave Joyce spoke at:
'An acoustic incident is a sudden, unexpected, noise event which is perceived as loud, transmitted through a telephone or headset. Acoustic shock is an adverse response to an acoustic incident resulting in alteration of auditory function.'
There has been a problem in terms of risks to hearing, and hygiene of headsets for many years in the call centre industry as a whole, with CWU Union Safety Reps continuously highlighting the health and safety issues around headsets use and call distribution equipment. Indeed the CWU have been concerned about the specific problem of acoustic shock since the introduction of headset use in the workplace.
The terms of Motion 74:
Motion 74: We have noticed a significant increase in the number of Noise Interference Incidents within the Contact Centre environment over the last year or so.
Source: CWU / unionsafety