The loudest man alive?

Tests underway to determine if auctioneer could be hazardous to the public

A livestock auctioneer is undergoing tests by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to see if his voice could be a danger to visitors of Hereford Market.

David Probert's voice is capable of reaching the same level as standing within 25m of a jet aircraft.

Harvey Wild, HSE inspector, said: "After receiving a complaint from a member of the public about the noise levels at Hereford Poultry Market, we have written a series of letters to the auctioneers. Following any complaint, the HSE is duty-bound to investigate and we have made some initial investigations. We hope with the co-operation of the Hereford Poultry Market the issue can be resolved promptly and amicably."

According to the BBC which reported the story, health and safety rules state employers should provide ear protection for people exposed to levels of 85 decibels over an eight hour period.

Probert said his weekly auctions "very rarely" lasted longer than two hours. He said to be incredulous that his voice should raise concerns. "I am continuing as I have for 40 years on the premise that if I had damaged people's health there would be a lot of deaf people in Hereford."

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