Brief guide summarising how to prevent industrial noise-induced hearing loss
Monitoring and Reducing the Risk of Noise in the Workplace
The risk of noise in the workplace is a very real concern for individuals and companies all over the UK. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) has a debilitating effect on employees’ everyday and working lives and puts them at risk of not being able to hear alarms and warnings. NIHL also poses potentially devastating legal and financial threats to your company. This article explains how to prevent NIHL in the workplace, helping you avoid the moral, legal and financial consequences associated with failure to do your bit.
How to Prevent Industrial Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
In order to prevent industrial deafness, you first need to know whether the current noise levels are posing a threat to workers’ hearing. A qualified noise or health and safety consultant should assess the risk of noise in the workplace throughout the day using a compliant noise meter of at least Class 2, in accordance with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations. Once they have a general overview of workers’ noise exposure, they’ll be able to home in on any particular areas of concern and conduct further investigation.
Depending on the industry you’re in, it can sometimes be difficult to get a realistic idea of workers’ true noise exposure throughout the day. If a role involves a great deal of movement from place to place, night shifts or working in locations that are awkward or dangerous, it’s hardly practical to follow them around all day, trying to take noise measurement at the worker’s ear with a sound level meter.
The compact, wireless noise dosimeter is the best solution. This can be fastened onto the worker’s shoulder and left to take measurements throughout the day. At the end of their shift, you can just remove it then download and transfer the data to your PC for analysis.
Particular attention should be paid to common industrial noise risks such as plant, machinery and tools. Potential solutions should be noted and discussed, e.g. newer machinery, sound dampening, sound absorbency, hearing protection, shorter shifts, more frequent breaks. Remember that where possible, it’s best to reduce noise levels at their source rather than putting protective measures in place.
This is just a brief overview as to how to prevent industrial noise-induced hearing loss. More information on monitoring industrial noise can be found on our website or by calling us on 01723 518011.