FIRMS were today warned that they could face a wave of compensation claims from staff if they ignored new moves to protect workers' hearing.
Tighter regulations on noise levels in the workplace will come into force next month aimed at reducing noise in offices and factories and increasing protection for employees.
The TUC and charity RNID issued a joint plea to companies to make sure they followed the new regulations.
Hugh Robertson, senior health and safety executive at the TUC, said: "If properly implemented, these regulations will save the hearing of literally hundreds of thousands of people.
"If they are ignored or implemented half-heartedly employers could face a wave of compensation claims from staff.
"Better to rigorously enforce safe noise levels to prevent hearing damage, in industry but also entertainment and construction, than leave employees to go through the courts for compensation after their hearing has already been harmed."
The TUC and RNID urged firms to replace noisy machinery, install materials that absorb sound and provide quiet areas for staff.