Industrial Sound Barriers Protect Hearing in the Workplace
- By Dan Carver
- Oct 2, 2020
- 0 Comments
Prevent Noise Pollution with Industrial Sound Barriers
Used in many occupations and situations, industrial sound barriers combat noise pollution by absorbing and reflecting sound. A noisy workplace can be hazardous to the health and safety of employees. It can also affect the public, especially when construction is taking place nearby.
Many people don't realize what a serious problem noise pollution poses. It can lead to a host of issues, including hearing loss, tinnitus, physical and mental stress, accidents, and injuries. Exposure to noise can also interfere with productivity, concentration, and communication, adversely affecting workers on the job and in their personal lives.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 22 million people per year experience loud noise in the workplace. Their 2018 study on occupational noise exposure within US industries and occupations found that "hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and hearing difficulty are more prevalent among noise‐exposed workers." NIOSH considers noise at or above 85 decibels to be hazardous. and recommends sound barriers as a solution for reducing noise exposure on the job. Businesses spend an average of $242 million on worker’s compensation claims related to hearing loss, so it's important to provide sound barriers for the sake of your business as well as your employees.
If your employees can potentially be exposed to noises that are at least 85 decibels over eight working hours, OSHA requires you to put a hearing conservation program into effect to help prevent hearing loss through reduced noise exposure. OSHA’s Noise Standard requires employers to do so through administrative controls, engineering controls, or Hearing Protection Devices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if an individual must raise his or her voice in order to speak with someone who is just three feet away, noise exposure is at a limit that is considered harmful. More than ten million construction workers are exposed to excessive noise every day, with 14 percent suffering from job-related hearing difficulty. Much of the equipment used in construction exceeds 85 decibels. This problem is also found in demolition work, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and many other industries.
How Can You Prevent Noise Pollution in the Workplace?
Industrial sound barriers help prevent noise from affecting the quality of life of your workers and the public. In some areas, they may also help comply with city noise regulations. Though noise ordinances can vary from city to city, they generally set a limit for allowable noise levels during different periods of the day, with higher levels during standard working hours and lower levels at night. When the noise ordinance is violated, it can result in fines for your business or even a temporary work stoppage, costing you time and money.
Sound barriers can help prevent this. Without them, your business might have to switch to smaller, quieter equipment, which will likely extend the amount of time it takes to complete a job. Justrite offers versatile sound barriers that are easy to transport, install, and store, ideal for use on construction sites, industrial plants, civil engineering sites, mining sites, and more. Sound barriers should be used around any equipment that can affect the hearing or potential safety of your workers, including noisy air conditioners, generators, compressors, and jackhammers.
OSHA lists sound barriers as an example of an engineering control that is both effective and inexpensive. While other solutions can result in inconveniences on the job, sound barriers are a simple way to protect your workers and the public while continuing business as usual. If your employees are forced to use smaller equipment, only use noisy equipment when less people are around, or limit the amount of time they spend near that equipment, it can result in delays and unhappy clients, affecting your business's profits and reputation.
Use Justrite QuietSite™ Temporary Noise Barrier Walls to Protect Workers’ Hearing
Justrite QuietSite™ industrial sound barriers make it easy to control noise at any workplace or job site, while being much less disruptive to your employees' workflow than many other solutions. It's important that workers be able to communicate with others. Hazardous noise levels make this incredibly difficult and can lead to accidents or injuries on the job. Industrial sound barriers are a simple solution to reduce noise pollution. They can improve the well-being of your employees and the public while helping you meet city noise regulations and avoid fines, complaints, and delays.
CDC. Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention
NIOSH. Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty, and occupational noise exposure within US industries and occupations
CDC. Controls for Noise Exposure
Basic Concepts. Protect Workers with Temporary Noise Reduction Barriers
OSHA. Hearing Conservation Program
NIOSH. Occupational Hearing Loss (OHL) Surveillance
ANSI. How Loud Is Construction Site Noise?