Scope – Arcus were commissioned to carry out a noise at work assessment for a large printing and book binding company operating over two sites in Glasgow. Initially, a site visit was undertaken, which included the following;
- Measurement of noise levels at all operators positions;
- Recording the type, make, condition and approximate daily use of all equipment;
- Measurement of noise levels at 1 m in front of all noise generating equipment;
- General noise measurements around the site to identify potential noise protection zones;
- Appraisal of existing hearing protection signage around the factory floor;
- Discussion with shift manager to determine working patterns;
- Identification of areas and operations where noise control measures could be utilised to reduce noise levels.
Following the site visit, a noise risk assessment was produced in conjunction with the senior management to reduce employee noise exposure to as low as reasonably practicable.
A report was produced in accordance with the Noise at Work Regulations, and included the following sections;
- Overview of the site survey;
- Results of noise levels measured for all plant items and operations;
- Comparison of results to the exposure action values;
- Calculation of how long equipment can be used before exceeding action values;
- Identification of areas which exceed lower and upper action values;
- Recommendation of noise control techniques to reduce noise exposure; and
- Discussion of hearing protection.
Solution –In order to reduce noise exposure to as low as reasonably practicable, technical and organisational controls were recommended. Some of the different types of noise control are summarised below;
- Job design – noisy equipment should only be used when required;
- Job rotation – where employees have varying exposures to noise;
- Change of machine – consider purchasing quieter models, where possible;
- Change of activity – changing the design of construction to avoid noisy processes;
- Workplace design – consider changing the layout of the workplace to reduce noise exposure; and
- Noise control – such as enclosures, silencers, screens, barriers or noise refuges.