Industrial noise is a common by-product of manufacturing workplaces, engineering workshops and mine sites. And with an industry wide increasing pressure for improved output and economic growth comes higher levels of noise – which can cause significant ramifications for workers’ health and productivity.
On a human level, the cost of noise-induced hearing loss can be seen in workers’ higher stress levels, increased absenteeism, decreased production output and performance, reduced quality of life, high blood pressure, impaired family and social relationships and an increased risk of workplace injuries and accidents.
On an economic level, the drain of Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (ONIHL) is felt by the wider society; families, business owners and managers. The 2010 Safe Work Australia ONIHL in Australia reported that between 2002 and 2007, there were about 16,500 successful workers' compensation claims for industrial deafness involving permanent impairment due to noise.
Hearing loss is permanent. Therefore, workers as well as operations, factory and OHS managers must be proactive and take the necessary actions to limit the risk of workplace noise-induced hearing loss.
Diluting the decibels
The most common control measure used for noise in the workplace is wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for hearing protection – however PPE on its own is in fact not considered an effective control method. PPE can be helpful, but only if it is used in conjunction with other, more effective control measures.
In order to find the most effective way to reduce hazards associated with noise in the workplace, they can be applied to the Hierarchy of Control. Using the elements of elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering, administration and PPE in their specific order, workplaces can control occupational noise levels and workers’ exposure, thereby reducing the risk of hearing loss and other adverse outcomes.
Flexshield – an industrial noise control solution
With over 10 years of experience, Flexshield offers a range of customised industrial noise control and soundproofing products and services, as well as a comprehensive range of safety and operational solutions including; acoustic enclosures, acoustic doors, acoustic curtains, acoustic blankets, attenuators, flexible acoustic barriers, baffle silencers, modular acoustic panels and many more customisable solutions.
Flexshield’s turnkey customised solutions for your Noise Control problems allow you to exceed Australian Standards for Noise Management and Protection of Hearing at Work; ultimately reducing the risk of industrial deafness.
By setting proven solutions in place, workplaces can improve productivity, enhance talent retention and improve worker safety and well-being.