Try these 7 Control Measures For Noise Pollution In The Workplace and improve employee health and happiness.
The Causes of Noise Pollution in the Workplace, whether it is from an office, manufacturing plant, or construction site, can cause employees to develop high blood pressure and stress levels. Although studies have shown that noise pollution can cause physical and psychological problems, some companies seem more concerned with saving money than ensuring employee safety and comfort in the workplace.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), noise-induced hearing loss affects more than 2 million Americans each year, with roughly 2,000 of them being exposed to workplace noise on the job. OSHA has standards that employers must adhere to in order to protect their workers from developing irreversible hearing damage as a result of exposure to loud sounds at work.
However, there are control measures you can take to reduce the amount of noise pollution in your workplace and keep your employees safe and comfortable at all times, even during emergencies.
Below are the 7 control measures to reduce noise pollution in the workplace.
Identify The Source Of The Noise
Noise in the workplace can come from numerous sources: Construction equipment, machinery, human activities, etc. Identify the source of the noise at your workplace to determine the control measures that will be most effective in reducing or eliminating it. Source identification is a key step in developing a successful noise abatement program.
Determine Whether The Noise Is Unintentional Or Intentional: If noise pollution is unintentional (i.e., you did not know there was excessive noise), then you may not have any recourse other than to work with management and/or employees on ways to reduce noise levels.
Evaluate Your Options For Noise Abatement And Controlling Sources Of Noise: You can look into different types of noise abatement methods, including using noise barriers, implementing engineering controls such as noise-reducing ventilation systems, or installing acoustic ceiling tiles or carpeting in your workplace.
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Noise in a workplace can be dangerous and lead to hearing loss, frustration and stress. To minimize or eliminate noise pollution, it is important to develop an effective noise abatement program. Effective noise control involves identifying sources of noise, determining whether noise is intentional or unintentional, evaluating your options for abatement and controlling sources of noise.
Personal Hearing Protection Devices
Personal Hearing Protection Devices have been designed specifically to protect our ears from specific noise hazards. These devices come in many different forms and are used by workers in all types of industries. When possible, employers should implement engineering controls for noise to reduce exposure to excessive noise levels. However, if such controls cannot be implemented for safety reasons or economic reasons, employers must train employees about proper use of personal hearing protection devices and require them to wear them when exposed to hazardous noise levels that can cause hearing loss.
Hearing protection devices are used to block out loud noises that are more than 85 dB from entering your ears. If you wear hearing protection devices correctly, you can reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss by around half. To do so, use them whenever your employer requires it for working in a noisy environment. Wear earplugs or other style of hearing protection when working with machinery, sirens and horns and when operating jackhammers and chain saws.
A personal hearing protection device is not only an effective means of noise control, but it also protects your ears from potentially hazardous levels of sound. If you work in a noisy environment, wear personal hearing protection devices whenever possible to keep your ears safe. Wear them as part of a comprehensive strategy for controlling noise hazards at work.
Soundproofing, Carpets and Draperies
Soundproofing is an important control measure for noise pollution. Soundproofing involves installing heavy, sound-absorbing materials such as ceiling tiles, carpeting and draperies in or around a room or space. It helps lower your risk of hearing damage from constant exposure to background noise and loud noises like drilling, hammering and motors. Soundproofing is particularly helpful if you work in a place that is routinely noisy, like a construction site.
Besides soundproofing, it is also important to place carpets and draperies around your working space. This helps in reducing noise pollution by absorbing noise that comes from heavy machinery, hammering and other sounds that are commonly heard in a construction site. Soundproofing can be done at an affordable cost by yourself or you can ask professionals for help.
Soundproofing, carpets and draperies are effective in creating a safe work environment. If you ca not afford to use these materials, consider investing in earplugs or other protection devices to help filter out background noise while you work.
Acoustical Ceiling Tiles
Acoustical Ceiling Tiles used to control noise pollution in the workplace consist of acoustical ceiling tiles made with thick and high density Acoustic foam. These acoustic ceiling tiles with holes can filter the noises coming from the outside, meet requirements of fire resistant grade and help to reduce echo sound effectively. Therefore, these acoustic ceiling tiles have been widely used in public places such as hospitals, universities, cinemas and hotels etc.
As we all know, noise pollution in your workplace is not only restricted to audio noises, but also involves impact noises. To stop noise in your workplace, besides acoustic ceiling tiles with holes, you can choose other anti-noise products such as acoustic ceiling panels for better control of noise pollution in your place.
Apart from acoustical ceiling tiles with sound absorbing feature and noise barrier effect, noise pollution in workplaces are also available using other types of noise control products made by certain materials for different purposes. The most commonly used material are silicon rubber or polyurethane which has good performance on decoupling noises due to good elasticity and thermal resistant feature; while silicone rubber can prevent resonance transmission effectively and protect building structure during earthquake.
Check Your Equipment
You can not control noise pollution in the workplace if you do not first check your equipment. Are all of your work vehicles and power tools checked regularly? If not, it might be time to schedule a full inspection.
To properly maintain your equipment, you should always follow manufacturer guidelines for oil changes and routine maintenance. Properly maintained machines run more efficiently which means less noise at any given level of output.
Read Also: What is Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of an Hearing Protection & How to Calculated it
Noise is energy and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms. This means that if a machine makes noise then there is noise pollution in the workplace. While it might seem like a simple concept to understand there are other factors to consider when trying to control noise pollution in the workplace. A simple change in engine position on a power tool can make all of difference between safe operation and a serious injury from noise pollution in the workplace.
Keep Regular Maintenance Checks
To control noise pollution in the workplace, the most important thing to do is to keep regular maintenance checks on the machinery and equipment. Regular checks will ensure that everything runs smoothly, efficiently and effectively so that noise pollution is kept to a minimum. Regular checks are also necessary to look for any potential damage or faults as soon as they start to occur; these can be quickly resolved by a skilled technician which is much more preferable than having them left unresolved until they become larger issues.
If you want to control noise pollution in your workplace, it is vital that you keep regular maintenance checks on all of your machinery and equipment. Regular checks will help keep everything running smoothly and efficiently so there is no unnecessary noise generated by faulty or inefficient machinery.
Training Employees On Noise Control Measures
It’s up to employers to provide employees with information on how to control noise in their working environment. Employers can ensure that each employee knows about:
1) Noise Control Measures
2) Types of Hearing Protection
3) Safety Rules for High Noise Levels
4) Safe Earphones and Headsets
5) How To Manage Personal Noise Exposure
6) Where To Find More Information.
They may have training sessions or workshops specifically focused on noise pollution during work hours, where employees receive information about all these topics.
Training your employees on noise control measures is a crucial step to reduce noise pollution and prevent hearing loss. By training your employees, you can encourage them to make conscious decisions in their work environment, which will contribute to a more safe and healthy workplace.