How to manage noise on-site
Worksites are noisy things.
While noise often means things are getting done, there is a downside to this. Work-related hearing loss is a real threat for many who spend the majority of their working lives on-site.
So to help you protect your hearing, here are a few helpful tips to keep your ears in tip-top-shape.
Understand noise and it’s path
Understanding what makes noise on-site and how it impacts people and different areas on site is critical. Ask yourself:
- Where does most of the noise come from?
- What tools or machinery are the loudest?
- How does noise travel around the site?
Once you understand the answers to the above, you can start putting plans and checks in place to monitor noise on-site.
Be sure to review the plan throughout the project, as different stages will create varying levels of noise.
Eliminate or reduce
The easiest way to decrease the effect of excessive noise on your site is to eliminate the source of noise completely. But, chances are this isn’t possible on a busy site.
Next, best thing is to reduce noise.
Couple of easy ways to do this include:
- Using less powerful tools
- Wear correct ear protection where possible
- Keep noisy machinery or work stations away from walls or corners – really anywhere noise can bounce off and echo throughout site
Isolation involves creating a dedicated space for ‘noisy work’. This could be an enclosed room or area of site where all noisy work and machinery is used. This helps to block the path of noise and reduce the levels that reach your team.
Perfect for when you are running a large generator or a dedicated workspace, acoustic enclosures help to trap the noise within its barriers.
Setting up an acoustic enclosure that has 2 or 3 barriers/ walls can reduce noise by about 30 dB.
What makes a quality acoustic enclosure:
- Sealed windows and doors – make sure everything is closed or the noise escapes
- Double or triple glazed windows and walls
- Materials that are compact, dense and heavy
With noise comes vibrations. These vibrations can be just as harmful as the noise itself.
Here are a few strategies to help decrease vibrations when using machines or power tools:
- Heavy surfaces vibrate less and radiate less noise. So if you can, perform all work with power tools on heavy surfaces, such as concrete
- If you can, work on benches/ surfaces that aren’t solid – holes allow noise to escape and not bounce off the surface
- Place machinery or generators in an area of site where they are not trapped by walls unless they are made of noise-cancelling/ absorbing materials
For more on the effects of vibrations, check out our vibrations blog.
We’re never going to escape noise on site, that just not possible. But we can put steps in place to help reduce the effect that noise has on people while they are on site.