The ability to hear protects us from danger on a daily basis, sometimes without us even knowing it.
This is because our ears monitor our safety 24/7….whether it’s a smoke alarm going off, a car horn beeping or the warning tone of the train doors closing. So it’s not surprising that when we are hard at work…they work hard too.
But what happens when we give our ears too much or not enough information? This imbalance can end up reducing our abilities to sense danger while increasing the presence of workplace hazards.
The following are 3 examples of workplace hazards caused by imbalances:
- Not enough audible warnings to let us know there is danger – common examples include broken forklift buzzers or machine alarms which are not located near enough to the operator.
- Too many audible warnings – this can turn into normal background noise or stops us from identifying the actual source of danger. May occur in busy or cramped work places with lots of machine related activities taking place.
- Sources of noise reaching or exceeding hazardous levels – this is determined as noise which is 85 dB (A) or above and noise which is 140 dB (C) or above. – Aside from the potential to cause permanent hearing loss, this also inhibits our ability to communicate with people around us. This can lead to all sorts of miscommunications which can be concerning if critical safety information is trying to be verbally communicated.
If you want to learn more about 85 dB (A) and 140 dB (C), see the following link on our website LINK HERE!
There are many more factors to consider and as noise consultants, we understand how important it is to get the right balance when it comes to managing noise in the workplace. Below is just one example of how we help you balance noise in the workplace.
Understand the noise source and its purpose
For noise to be made, there needs to be a source. It might be stationary like a large machine, or mobile like a vehicle. They might make noise on purpose (such as an alarm) or the might make unwanted noise (such as an air compressor pump). Either way, once we have identified the noise source, we can determine how it effects the people exposed to it.
This is done through the use of a Sound Level Meter (SLM), to see if the noise is hazardous. Depending on the results and how often people are exposed to the noise source, we may recommend a number of controls using the Hierarchy of Noise Control (LINK HERE!).
In all instances, we are focused on recommending controls that are balanced. An example of this is calculating what kind of hearing protection may be needed in a workplace to allow for adequate safeguarding of hearing while not being over the top and reducing verbal communication or situational awareness.
Anitech Noise Solutions not only provides industry trained consultants to conduct noise assessments. We also complete on-site hearing tests and supply a wide range of hearing protection. As we offer this full end-to-end service, you can be assured to get the best service and advice in managing (or balancing!) noise in your workplace.