The world of work is often a noisy one. There are so many people moving around and attempting to complete their assigned tasks.
Understandably, this can lead to quite a bit of noise pollution, especially in physical jobs or those tasks which involve interacting with customers, like for example retail. As outlined by Health & Safety Executive managing workplace noise is the responsibility of the employer and it can be a significant challenge in certain industries.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to make sure that the amount of noise experienced in the workplace is reduced and employee safety remains a priority.
Layout the workplace for reduced noise
Making alterations to the workplace to reduce the noise is a good strategy because it prevents direct sound from harming workers. When we talk about changing the workplace, we are referring to tactically positioning apparatus which causes noise pollution in such a way that it does not interfere with employees. It is often necessary to test how far sound can reach using consultants such as Nova Acoustics.
It is wise to consider having all of the machinery in an isolated area. When the proper safety precautions are taken in the form of noise cancelling headphones, it means that workers can still have access to the machines that they need without being at risk of high levels of noise pollution.
Using obstacles to screen noise
A common tactic is to use barriers to prevent the sound from travelling as far as normal. These can take the form of screens, walls or other types of barriers.
Typically, they should be brick or sheet steel. However, any thick material will suffice. For best results, you should be placed close to the source of the noise or the people you are attempting to protect. It is wise to consider using soundproofing material on the side of the barrier that the noise originates from. This will have the added effect of reflecting the noise back, instead of allowing it to travel. It is also important to remember the barriers can be adapted and custom-made to deal with a variety of different environments, such as places where water and oil are issues.
Providing low noise areas
When attempting to mitigate the risk which noise provides, it is wise to introduce areas where noise pollution is not a problem at all. These are designated parts of the building or the complex where every effort is taken to ensure that the noise levels are at a minimum. This will often involve placing the area as far away from causes of noise as possible, having a strict set of rules in place to make sure that noise is not created within the space, and encouraging workers and visitors to frequent the area when they are on break or simply need a moment away.
In conclusion, it is a legal requirement of an employer to reduce the noise risk that employees are exposed to. Taking the correct steps to identify sources of noise and isolate them from the majority of the workplace is not always easy, but there are many steps and measures you can implement to protect your staff from workplace noise.