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NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS - SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT IT

 

Friday, June 24, 2016


Approximately 100,000 Victorian workers are at risk of noise induced hearing loss. This is the statement given by WorkSafe Australia  last year.

Noise induced hearing loss reaches 100,000 in Victoria

Noise induced hearing loss reaches 100,000 in Victoria


In relation to this, SafeWork NSW updated their code of practice for managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work. Here are some of the major requirements businesses have to comply with:

  • Eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure to noise through the provision and enforcement of noise protective equipment
  • Conduct noise level testing of all areas of the workplace, including when new equipment is added or replaced
  • Conduct audiometric hearing tests within three months of the employee commencing work
  • Conduct audiometric hearing tests during the course of employment, and at least every two years, to identify any deterioration in hearing and take additional preventative measures

Read on to learn more about this.

Are you aware of your responsibility to prevent noise induced hearing loss?


In its published article last April 2016 entitled, "Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work: Code of Practice," Safe Work Australia stated the responsibility of owners and designers, manufacturers, suppliers, importers and installers of plant structure to help avoid noise induced hearing loss in the workplace.

Are you aware of this?

Responsibility of business owners to prevent noise induced hearing loss in the workplace


In the published Code of Practice, it states that business owners have the responsibility to ensure the noise a worker is exposed to at the workplace does not exceed the exposure standard for noise

Noise induced hearing loss help

Need help with noise induced hearing loss risks in your workplace? Call us.

Go to the section about guidelines on how this is to be done

Responsibility of designers, manufacturers, suppliers, importers and installers of plant structures


Designers, manufacturers, suppliers, importers and installers of plant or structures have the responsibility to ensure the plant or structure is designed and manufactured so that its noise emission is as low as reasonably practicable. They should also provide information about noise emission values of the plant and other conditions needed that could help minimise the risk of hearing loss and other harm.

Noise induced hearing loss: tasks and responsibilities of designers, manufacturers, and suppliers

Noise induced hearing loss: tasks and responsibilities of designers, manufacturers, and suppliers

What industries are exposed to high noise level?


In a published article in BLR last April, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has identified the following industries as major cause of induced hearing loss amongst workers

  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Life, physical and social sciences, and personal care and service occupations
  • Architecture
  • Engineering

Do you belong to these industries?

Blowers and their role to industries


Every industry, which includes the list mentioned above, makes use of blowers. However, despite their wide use in industry, the number of applications for air blowers is limited to

  • Heating
  • Conveying
  • Aeration and Ventilation
  • Cooling
  • Drying

However, due to this it doesn't have a separate lubrication system, causing some models to produce a high decibel level.

Pneuvay Engineering designs and manufactures blower systems that have minimal noise. Moreover, we also provide blower enclosures that can further reduce the noise emission level of your blowers.

Talk to us to learn more about it. 

How much noise is too much?


The image below shows the equivalent noise exposures we can endure:

Maximum noise exposure workers can endure

Maximum noise exposure workers can endure

This means that an exposure standard of 85 dB is the minimal noise a person can endure to avoid hearing loss. In cases where noise levels go beyond 140 dB, such as impact or explosive noises such as sledge hammering or a gunshot, then it would only take less than a second to bring damage to a person's hearing.

Average noise level of pneumatic and compressed air is at 85 to 95 dB. The table of equivalent noise exposures shows that workers can only be exposed to 85dB for a max of 8 hours, 88dB for a max of 4 hours and 90dB for a max of 2 hours.

Understanding when noise level is too much for workers


This table below shows the degree of noise experienced by workers in industries:

Noise level in industrial processes

Noise level in industrial processes

It can be interpreted as follow:


Noise induced hearing loss is dangerous

Be careful! Noise beyond 91dB is extremely dangerous

Given this information, noise should be kept at 85 to ensure workers exposed to this noise will avoid noise induced hearing loss. Otherwise, their exposure to systems and equipment with higher degree noise level should be kept at a maximum of 2 hours.

How to reduce noise in the workplace?


Technically speaking, there are two ways of minimising noise in the workplace - eliminate or minimise it.

Eliminating noise in the workplace


Assessment of plant, equipment and other sources of noise in operation at the workplace will help you identify machines that can be eliminated. Some of these may be too old or even out-dated it has to be replaced with more efficient systems and machines.

Pneuvay Engineering designs pneumatic systems to ensure a more efficient production process in your workplace. Contact us to schedule an appointment with us.

Substituting the hazard with systems or equipment that are quieter


In choosing quieter systems or equipment, it is best to enquire about noise emission information. Compare the data of similar equipment and choose the best supplier who can demonstrate a low noise design, with noise control as a standard part of the machine, not as an optional extra.

Using engineering controls


This requires assessing the following:
  • Impact between hard objects or surfaces
  • Drop height of objects
  • Meshing of gears
  • Use of damping materials
  • Fan speeds

After checking on these factors, you can then draft a proposal which includes:

  • Changing fan speeds, materials, and parts from metal to plastic components and isolating vibrating noise sources by mounting it using rubber
  • Fitting exhaust mufflers on internal combustion engines and silencers, as well as sound absorbing materials
  • Minimising the drop height of objects and turning down volume controls
  • Using absorbent lining on surfaces to cushion the fall or impact of objects
  • Fixing damping materials or stiffening to panels and eliminating impacts between hard objects and surfaces

Using distance, barriers, enclosures and sound-absorbing surfaces


Blowers and industrial vacuum systems are essential for most plants and factories. However, use of these poses your workplace to a higher degree of noise.

Use of blower enclosures can greatly reduce the noise level in your workplace. Take for example Pneuvay Engineering's blower enclosures that can guarantee 18 to 15 dBA noise reduction.

Blower enclosures to reduce noise emission

Blower enclosures to reduce noise emission


We can achieve results down to 80 dBA. However, to get noise down to lower levels may require us to engage specialist noise engineers to plan in dealing with possible complications such as reflective sound from nearby surroundings. Talk to us, today.

 
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