Worker safety should be a priority in any facility. Although the handling of hazardous materials along with the use of heavy machinery poses great risks, noisy work environments are a more pressing concern for employees. According to a report from Safe Work Australia, approximately one million employees in the country are in constant exposure to hazardous noise levels.
Reducing noise levels at the workplace, therefore, will help minimize the likelihood of occupation-induced hearing among workers. This also makes the work environment safer and more efficient for employees.
Here are five suggestions to cut down the noise levels in your facility:
1- Address the Noise at Its Source
An effective and common tactic used in processing plants and public environments is to take care of the noise at its point of origin. One example is malfunctioning or poorly maintained machinery.
Some machines may generate loud noises when they’re not working properly. Industrial pumps, for instance, may produce loud hydraulic sounds and vibrations that can hurt a person’s ears. If this is the case, you’ll need a specialist who performs industrial pump repairs and maintenance. They can check the machinery and perform fixes to reduce the noise and improve efficiency.
Apart from repair and maintenance, you can use noise control solutions on heavy machinery. Products, such as inlet silencers and industrial exhaust silencers, are effective and durable options to cut down the noise generated by your facility equipment.
2- Change the Layout of the Production Facility
If your manufacturing plant is in the design stage or the process of reconfiguration, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the placement of the noise sources. Proper positioning of the machinery can go a long way toward cutting down noise pollution in the workplace.
When configuring the layout, move the noisy machines as far away from office spaces, worker rest areas, and other nearby buildings. By allotting space for the machinery, you prevent the noise from negatively affecting the office space in your facility. Also, it allows you to keep up with noise pollution regulations by not disturbing the adjacent buildings around your manufacturing plant.
3- Place Noisy Machines in Soundproofed Areas
If your facility has multiple sources of loud noise, try to group the noisy machines in one area. This section of your facility will be loud, but you can apply sound control solutions in that area.
Once you have the noisy machines in one place, you’ll want to soundproof that area to dampen the noise levels. Here are a few soundproofing strategies that you can use for your factory machinery:
- Enclose the Machines – If your facility has small equipment that produces a lot of noise, consider erecting walls around the machine or putting it in a closed box. You don’t have to enclose the entire equipment. Just the noisiest component will do. Also, the box or wall should consist of a material that effectively absorbs sound. Examples include rubber, foam, and cork. Don’t forget to add ventilation to the enclosures to prevent the machines from overheating.
- Construct a Soundproof Room – Dedicate a room for incredibly noisy machinery. Cover the walls, ceiling, and floor with materials that dampen or absorb sound.
- Add Acoustic Panels – These panel systems can dampen the effects of the noise generated by your machines. You’ll find acoustic panels in soundproof theatres. When you install these panels, they turn sound energy into heat energy. This minimizes an employee’s perception of sound and the likelihood of noise-induced hearing loss.
- Add Vibration Pads – The vibration produced by a machine can generate a lot of noise. Cut down this noise by installing pads on the feet of the equipment. Look for pads made of cork or rubber.
4- Overhaul Old or Outdated Machines
Look for newer machine models that generate less noise for your facility. This investment pays off in two ways: it reduces the risk of workplace-induced hearing loss and helps boost the efficiency of your manufacturing plant.
5- Require Workers to Use Hearing Protection Equipment
Taking extra precautions in your facility is still important even if you have noise reduction solutions in place. These precautions include requiring employees to wear protective equipment on their ears.
Two popular forms of hearing protection are earplugs and earmuffs. They help cut down the noise to acceptable levels.
When buying earplugs, get products made with foam. Also, they should be tiny enough to fit and expand in the ear hole. As for earmuffs, get ones that fully cover a worker’s ears.
These steps will help minimize the noise in your facility and reduce the risk of workplace-induced hearing loss. Apply these measures and allow your workers to have a better time performing and focusing on their job responsibilities.