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Telefónica O2 UK endorse ASP’s new Telecoms consultancy partnership with ElaraTek – 6th April 2010

“Telefónica O2 UK prides itself in high management standards for health and safety, in order to protect its employees and improve the service we offer to our customers. To maintain these high standards we are constantly looking for improvements for our safe working practices and the technology we use to support both the needs of our customers and our employees. In this regard, we have been delighted to further develop our relationship with the Acoustic Safety Programme. Having already delivered the UK’s most advanced Hearing Safety training for our call centre employees, we recently engaged ASP again to conduct a complete review of our noise exposure, policy and practices. The result of this review has, we believe, confirmed our market leading position in hearing conservation practices and also highlighted a couple of areas where we had an opportunity to make further improvements within one of our principal call centres. Utilising the cost-effective solutions advised by ASP, we have ensured that we have minimised the risk to our people, improved the customer experience and ensured our continued compliance with all relative legislation.

ASP have been able to deliver these ground breaking solutions by working in partnership with specialist acoustic signal processing company, ElaraTek, to develop cutting edge technology in order to provide a highly advanced communication infrastructure monitoring and research service. ASP is already one of the World’s leading centres of health and safety expertise in respect of occupational exposure to telephone noise and is now able to support that information pool with advanced technology solutions from ElaraTek to assist employers in their responsibility to employee health and wellbeing. The by-product of these improvements is equally as important: improved employee performance and customer satisfaction. Chris Jacobs, Health and Safety manager for Telefónica O2 UK stated that he is proud to endorse the specialist work that ASP ElaraTek Consulting provide and would recommend them to any Company considering improving their hearing conservation practices.”

O2 is fully committed to the health and safety of its employees and over the last few years we have focused on a variety of new initiatives

Here at O2 we work hard to provide our people with the best in work space design, proven technology and personal support. We recognise that to operate award winning customer service and support centres across the UK it is imperative to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. One of these initiatives has been to implement a hearing conservation programme across all our call centres. This has been achieved implementing a version of the 'Sound Safety II' e-learning training course developed by the World's leading specialist hearing health and safety organisation, the Acoustic Safety Programme. The course is available to all UK employees via our internal learning management system and ensures that all our call centre advisers have the most thorough hearing conservation support possible, helping us meet the HSE's acoustic safety guidelines and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

Chris Jacobs, Head of Health Safety and the Environment O2 (UK)

Public/Private Statements on Noise at Work and Acoustic Safety

The ASP Chairman Says:

“The Acoustic Safety Programme is the World’s leading public-private health & safety initiative for the awareness, development and provision of knowledge on noise related sickness and injury in both call centre and office environments caused through telephone and headset use. The Programme has an independent team of highly skilled and experienced specialists working in the fields of acoustic shock syndrome, noise interference and noise at work. Our objective, working with our partners from Government, Union and Industry, is to provide practical knowledge to the employment sector through information sharing, training tools and active support to ensure an increasing level of understanding and safety from the health risks we address.”
Geoff Thompson MBE, Chairman, Acoustic Safety Programme 7th September 2006

The Government Says:-

“The UK government, through the Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, has recognised the importance of the CCMA's Acoustic Safety Programme to call centres in this rapidly expanding sector of UK economy. DTI recognises the move to encourage the call centre industry to put in place measures to control acoustic shock, but acknowledges the ongoing considerations of the HSE of the impact on call centre staff.”
Stephen Rhodes, Department of Business Relations, dti 20th December 2004

The Health & Safety Executive Says:-

"Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees from workplace risks, those who create the risks are best able to manage them. HSE seeks a reduction in the incidence of workplace injuries and ill health generally, but recognises the need for employers to act proportionately and focus on those risks that cause greatest harm or affect the greatest number first. Proper management of workers' health at work may well require access to competent occupational health support.

HSE's advice to employers is that acoustic shock incidents should be treated in proportion to the harm that they cause and the risk that they represent in their workplaces. Operators should be trained to recognise such incidents and how to report them. Employers have a duty under RIDDOR to report work-related injuries, including those that result in a person being unable to carry out their normal work for more than three consecutive days. Organisations that operate call centres should follow this advice and keep up to date with developments in this field. HSE welcomes further research to build a better understanding of the types of acoustic shock incidents that lead to symptoms and to raise awareness of procedures to manage risks."
 For further information see the HSE policy statement on acoustic shock
Robert Vaughan, HSE, Noise and Vibration Programme Manager 31st August 2006

The TUC Says:-

“The TUC are committed to the health, safety and protection of the estimated 1 million call centre operatives in the UK providing an important service to the UK economy. The Acoustic Safety Programme goes some way towards providing a solution to the continuing proven risks associated with acoustic shock and its cost to industry, and the TUC fully supports these aims and their application in the workplace.”
Hugh Robertson, Policy Officer, Trades Union Congress

The Communication Workers Union Says:-

"The CWU fully supports the Acoustic Safety Programme and its objectives in providing a good method of sharing experiences and creating awareness to reduce this hazard in the call centre workplace."
Dave Joyce, National Health & Safety Officer, Commercial Workers Union

The European Confederation of Contact Centre Organisations Says:-

"The European Confederation of Contact Centre Organisations fully supports the Acoustic Safety Programme in its objective to help both UK and European Industry to protect its employees from the proven damage caused by Acoustic Shock and Noise Interference in the workplace. We strongly recommend that delegates utilize the knowledge, training and support offered by the programme, which is presented by CCMA, the UK’s sole representative body in ECCCO."
Eric Dadian, President, European Confederation of Contact Centre Organisations

Simpson Millar Solicitors Says:-

"Simpson Millar is delighted to have been selected to provide legal services to the Acoustic Safety Programme. Having successfully acted for victims of acoustic shock we see our relationship with the Acoustic Safety Programme very much as working in Partnership and as such look forward to assisting not just with the provision of Legal Advice but also in helping to promote the benefits of membership and support the programme generally in the delivery of its stated objectives"
Adrian Fawden, Partner, Simpson Millar Solicitors

Clement Clarke Communications Says:-

"As the first major supporters and sponsors of the Acoustic Safety Programme since 2004 we are delighted to be able to continue our association with the initiative that has developed from a small group of interested experts to a fully fledged research, development and solutions organisation by 2006. This initiative is now home to the largest group of independent researchers, dsp engineers, medical experts, health & safety consultants and acoustics scientists with specialisms and interest in occupational noise and acoustic shock. Coupled with the collaboration of leading telephony equipment manufacturers like Clement Clarke Communications, the Acoustic Safety Programme is truly a World-leading public-private health & safety organisation for the improvement of hearing protection in the workplace.

We are proud to support those objectives as they endorse our policy of continued investment in and production of World-class headsets and protection equipment for the commercial sector. Therefore, due to the belief we have in our high quality and safety standards and to increase our commitment to the programme we have delivered our products for the first ever UK independent equipment tests to be carried out by the ASP-NPL Research Partnership."
Marcus Hacker, Operations Manager, Clement Clarke Communications

GN Netcom Says:-

“GN Netcom are delighted to support the Acoustic Safety Programme (ASP). The valuable research and equipment testing that ASP conduct ensure the vital business issue of acoustic shock remains continually assessed and the appropriate recommendations put in place. GN Netcom are fully committed to protecting hearing through the use of headsets and this is a fundamental part of our product design philosophy. We will continue to work with ASP to ensure our products deliver to the highest standard of acoustic shock protection.”
Jan McNair, Managing Director, GN Netcom UK

Sennheiser Communications Says:-

“Sennheiser are delighted to be working with the Acoustic Safety Programme throughout 2006 and beyond. Our shared objective is to provide an independent consultancy service, with the broader objective being to Improve the safety of call centre products. With Sennheiser's ongoing investment in new products such as the UI 740 EU this clearly shows that we are committed in our search for the safest headset solutions for our customers.”
Richard Peak, Marketing Manager, Sennheiser Communications

Tecteon Plc Says:-

“We fully support the objectives of this vital programme and its aim to ensure the safety of call centre operators. The programme's achievement thus far in bringing together key parties from the Industry, Unions, Government agencies and technology providers is quite remarkable. The programme has outlined comprehensive plans on raising awareness, training and addressing the serious issues concerning acoustic shock and its consequences to call centre employees, whom represent the largest employment sector in the UK. Tecteon is already working closely with its existing partners to address these challenges; and we are eager to start working with other sponsors of this Program to better understand and better address the issues of acoustic shock and its adverse effects on call centre operators.”
Masoud Ahmadi, Managing Director, Tecteon Plc

Silvertongue Says: -

“Silvertongue are delighted to support the ongoing efforts of the Acoustic Safety Programme. Taking the first steps to address the need to provide safer working environments for call centre agents in 2001, Silvertongue has already gained extensive knowledge in the area of Acoustic Safety. With the successful implementation of the Soundshield solution in the Australian market, 60,000 Soundshield units are now deployed to protect headset users during their day to day operations.

The research and knowledge base that the ASP is building is invaluable to the education of key personnel to ensure safe operating environments for call centre agents and office workers. Silvertongue is pleased to be working with the ASP team at every level to provide support, knowledge, experience and equipment for testing to assist this programme moving forward at the highest possible level.

Dedicated to the cause Polaris Communications the designer and manufacturer of the Silvertongue and Soundshield product range have recently signed a seven year partnership agreement with the federally owned Australian Hearing organisation for a collaborative R&D program covering improvements to telephone headset technology and overall hearing health.”
Paul Abley, Business Development Manager, Silvertongue EMEA 1st November 2006

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