Noise in the Workplace

When working in a facility with many people and machines it is almost impossible to keep it even reasonably quiet. In many facilities the noise levels are so high that it can cause hearing problems to those who are exposed to it on a regular basis. What makes nose so dangerous is the fact that most people don’t even notice that it is causing harm until it is too late. In addition, most people get used to loud background noise very quickly so they don’t even notice it too much, but the damage it is causing does not stop.

Types of Noise in the Work Place

Every workplace has a different set of things which cause potentially damaging noise. Some facilities have machinery which is running constantly and causing a lot of noise. Others will have things which only run occasionally, but are very loud when they do. Still others have certain parts of the facility which are very loud, while others are quiet enough to allow employees to avoid any hearing damage.

In addition to providing hearing protection to the employees, it is important to make sure they know when and where it should be worn. Having signs in a facility to alert people that they should be putting on their hearing protection is a great idea. Some facilities have even implemented floor tape which is one color when they need to wear the protection, and another color when it is safe to go without.

There are many different options available to facilities, and the specific way they choose to let employees know about the risk of noise should be considered on a case by case basis. The important thing is that anywhere that the noise levels are high enough to cause damage, there are options available to protect the employees.

Preventing Noise Problems

Tens of thousands of people suffer permanent hearing loss due to the noise in in their workplaces. While the noise can’t always be prevented, the hearing loss can. Using ear-plugs and other sound muffling devices it is possible to protect the hearing of employees working in these areas.

In areas where people need to be able to communicate there are high-tech types of ear protection which can eliminate the loud background noises while still letting voices come through clearly. These products have a small microphone on the outside of the ear plugs, and speakers on the inside. They work by determining which noises can be eliminated, and which ones should be passed on to the wearer. Voices will be played through the speaker while the loud noises of the machinery are canceled out.

Finding the right types of ear protection for a specific facility can be difficult, but with the high level of risk that employees are facing, it is worth it. The facilities safety manager can identify what types of noises are present and then choose the right ear protection with the proper Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for the area. It is also essential that all employees are required to wear the provided ear protection, or it won’t be effective at all.

Additional Resources