How Businesses Reduce Worker Noise Exposure

How Businesses Reduce Worker Noise Exposure

Sound is a uniquely public phenomenon. You can’t control where sound waves travel once you create them, and neither can your coworkers. In a bustling manufacturing plant, it’s even harder to control noise as it comes from people and machines. There are several levels of noise protection you can give your workers. To understand your options for improving the workplace you manage, read a guide on how businesses reduce worker noise exposure.

Industrial Workplaces

An industrial facility—anything from a power plant to a production plant—deals with noise from every angle. They must install heavy machinery and then place workers alongside them to ensure everything runs smoothly. In these cases, industrial companies reduce worker noise exposure by managing sources and recipients separately.

Industrial Silencer and Enclosures

In a power plant, significant amounts of air must come in to fuel combustion reactions. Moving air can create a lot of noise when pressures change suddenly. Inlet silencers are adept at addressing this while exhaust silencers prevent noise on the back end.

Meanwhile, acoustic enclosures isolate sound waves from loud machines in many industrial settings. These establish a sealed perimeter around the machine in question that attenuates frequencies.

Worker Personal Protective Equipment

At the recipient level, workers wear PPE of some sort that prevents noise from entering their sensitive auditory systems. These range from small earplugs to larger earmuffs and everything in between, each of which is graded to meet present noise levels.

Office-Based Workplaces

Tackling noise in an office looks very different. Volumes are lower, but when workers want near-silence, even slight sounds disrupt.

Noise-Designated Spaces

The first tip is to guide your staff’s behavior. Create designated quiet spaces as well as soundproofed loud areas that are far away and well-equipped. Make it easy for someone to get up from their desk by giving them a laptop and only using wireless calling services.

Install Sound-Absorbing Materials

Often, sound alone isn’t the problem. It’s how it reverberates off various surfaces and adds to the total clamor. Acoustic panels made from fiberglass, foam, or another porous (not solid) material catch noise and don’t let it bounce away. The key to this lack of echoing is a panel’s high sound absorption coefficient, which illustrates how it dampens sound waves.

There are other tools for sound absorption as well; drop ceilings are a common one many offices employ.

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