Amassing evidence of the harmful effect noise pollution has on human health has forced companies to take noise pollution control more seriously in the past decades. Although the full range of health problems it contributes to are yet to be fully examined, we know for sure that noise causes high blood pressure, hearing loss and sleep disruption, indirectly affecting the heart, as well as nervous and respiratory systems. It also causes stress to build up and what makes it all the more dangerous in the fact that most workers have no control over the noise that surrounds them in the workplace, save for the earplugs or similar protection. Noise pollution also has a negative impact on productivity in any company, although some environments are simply noisier than others are. Therefore, it is an issue that should be taken very seriously, as it negatively affects the whole society and not just those who are directly exposed to the source of the noise. To that end, here are some tips on how to minimize noise pollution in the workplace.
Separate the Machines
Noisy machines and appliances should be kept in a separate room specially soundproofed in accordance with the type of noise in question wherever it is possible. This is especially important for very loud machines that are used by a great number of people, such as printers and copy-machines. These machines are often placed in the middle of modern offices and that may be convenient for accessing them, but the sheer volume of people walking to and from printers and copiers and the noise they make has a devastating effect on productivity.
Keep the Equipment Healthy
A new machine will be quieter that an old one in most cases, which is perfectly normal. However, proper maintenance can make a big difference in terms of noise a machine produces, as most of them will continue to work, but they will get louder as the time goes by. Maintaining them properly and regularly will enable them to work as long, as good and as silent as they possibly can.
In some work environments noise cannot be avoided. Using proper hearing protection is vital in these conditions, as well as limiting the exposure of the workers to sources of noise. If the level of noise exceeds 85 decibels, no one should be exposed to it for more than eight hours at a time.
Soundproofing is a great way to contain the noise and shelter those who do not have to be exposed to it. Modern technology provides many systematic solutions for noise pollution control that will efficiently contain even the most resilient noise, such as that caused by road works, for example. Some manufacturers even offer the possibility of ordering custom insulation made to meet the needs of a specific environment.
It is the duty of every employer to educate the workers in the risks and harmful effects of noise on human health, and to protect them from a potential occupational hearing loss. Some of them may want to take extra precautions to minimize that effect. In addition, this will encourage them to take more notice of the noise they make themselves, which will also help in reducing the overall noise pollution in any work environment.