If rattling carts laden with equipment seems like the norm at your workplace, it is time to examine the impact of noise on productivity and health. Excessive noise disrupts concentration, raises blood pressure, and increases stress. Hospital patients find it difficult to sleep amid beeping monitors and hallway commotion. Industry workers don hearing protection to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
Measures to Reduce Noise
For noisy carts, consider retrofitting them with noise reducing casters. Casters made out of softer material make less noise when rolling on hard floors. Also, make casters wide enough to glide over floor dents instead of rattling.
Cover walls with quilts or acoustical panels to reduce sound reverberation. Padded seats in chairs will also absorb sound. Acoustical tiles may be mounted on ceilings.
Conduct a noise survey with the help of an industrial audiology firm and identify equipment that produces the most noise. Identify possible engineering controls such as lubricating equipment joints, placing noise shields around equipment, or putting machinery on carpet to absorb vibrations. If possible, schedule equipment to run outside of the hours when the building is typically occupied. Place equipment further away from workers when possible.
When purchasing equipment, consider noise ratings as part of your decision-making process.
Earplugs for Noise Reduction
Generic foam earplugs from the drugstore are a cheap first solution for employees. For the plugs to work well, they must be compressed and inserted deeply into the ear. Custom-made earplugs available from audiologists offer greater comfort.
Earplug packages come with a noise reduction rating (NRR). In the laboratory, the earplugs block that much sound. However, in real environments, workers do not insert earplugs perfectly. Therefore, actual noise reduction values are always less than the package NRR.
Reducing noise in the workplace will result in happier, less stressed employees and customers. Methods of controlling noise include adapting equipment and wearing earplugs. Implement policies that will contribute to your company’s productivity.