Workplace noise

Noise in the workplace

Establishing the amount of noise in the workplace in regard to machines and equipment allows you to ensure proper protection for your employees.

Workers who spend their days near noisy machinery can face serious health issues if their employers don’t take measures to prevent injury. Even for occasional visitors to environments with dangerous sound emissions, effective protection and prevention is essential to safeguard their health. 

Dangers in the workplace

Ensuring workplace health and safety begins with understanding the dangers. Establishing the noise emission of machines and equipment allows you to calculate the protection required and the maximum length of time before a person becomes overexposed. Measuring the emissions of equipment is one aspect, while the room acoustics of workplaces – how sound propagates and reverberates out from the equipment – is an important factor in the total exposure in different locations.

Limiting personnel exposure

Noise conditions typically change throughout the working day. Workers move into areas of varying sound levels and may only intermittently use noisy equipment. Because of these variations in the workplace, determining safe noise levels and appropriate protection for personnel can present difficulties. Total exposure measurement and calculation is critical to preventing hearing damage.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most prevailing occupational health concerns. Millions of workers are at risk – repeatedly exposed to high noise levels day after day, year after year. Harmful noise levels do not always cause pain, so there is often no immediate reaction or complaint from the workforce. However, once the damage is done, social and psychological impairment can lead to potentially massive expenses due to the loss of skilled labour, early retirement and worker compensation.

Hearing protection programmes have been implemented in most countries and are governed by national and international standards. Any such programme involves an assessment of noise exposure using hand-held sound level meters or personal noise dose meters.

System suggestions

Noise exposure system overview

For closely tracking the noise exposure of multiple individuals, Personal Noise Dose Meter Type 4448 is a shoulder-mounted, cable-free noise dose meter that accompanies workers throughout their workday, measuring and registering all noise exposure data. Two-button operation, informative LCD display and automatic calibration make it easy to master in just a few minutes. The rechargeable battery and memory provide capacity for several workdays’ worth of measurement. Kits, containing up to ten dose meters, are available and come in a practical carrying case with enough room for all the included and optional accessories.

Another option for assessing noise exposure in the work environment is B&K 2245 Sound Level meter with Work Noise Partner. This is focused tool for performing work noise surveys, focusing on risk mitigation of hearing loss and ensuring compliance with regulations and standards. Work Noise Partner provides you with the insight to properly mitigate any issues, including assessing the need for and selection of hearing protection.

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