Should I let my employees play radios in factory and construction environments?

Should I let my employees play radios in factory and construction environments Safety Forward

Listening to music certainly has its benefits. In fact, it has been proven to lift people’s moods and help them focus on the task in hand. The benefits of background music even go as far as to help improve one’s memory and can enhance performance with creative and accuracy when it comes to numerical-based tasks. This means that there are certain roles within a business, such as finance, admin and marketing, that could see a major improvement with the help of some music. But should you let employees play radios in factory and construction environments?

Legal view

Employers have a responsibility under The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. However, that does not apply to low-level noise that is considered a nuisance but causes no risk of hearing damage.

There is no legislation prohibiting an employee from wearing headsets or earpieces playing music in a manufacturing or construction setting, however, all employees have a duty while at work to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who may be affected by the employee’s acts or omissions at a workplace. If the wearing of headsets or listening to music was preventing an employee from satisfying this duty, then it would be reasonable to request that the employee not wear the headset or listen to music while working.

There are also some strict laws about playing copyrighted music in a public setting, so you will need to obtain a licence to play music out loud without the risk of being prosecuted.


Listening to music in the workplace can help employees:

  • Focus on work
  • Absorb information
  • Stimulate creativity
  • Drown out co-workers
  • Break up mundane tasks
  • Boost morale



Construction managers have said over and over that radios can be a huge distraction on a job site. They say that it can be hard to get the crew to agree on one type of music or radio station to listen to. It can be hard to settle on a volume that works for everyone and it can also distract and even aggravate other workers.

It can also make it harder to communicate. This is because the music may be louder than the methods of communication the job has set up, and it can also be because workers are simply concentrating on the radio instead of listening for communication.


If you’re a business owner and unsure of whether to allow music in the workplace, it’s vital you analyse potential risks of your employees doing so. If there is a chance that employees could miss safety instructions and cause harm to themselves or others, then it is reasonable to implement a ban. A policy should always be put in place, outlining clear guidelines.

For further information on letting employees play radios in factory and construction environments, please contact us here.