Prevent noise pollution in your workplace or face COID claims

Simangele Mzizi, 21 Jun. 2013

Tags: coid claim, coid act, health and safety, noise levels in the workplace

Loud or excessive noise levels can damage the sensitive nervous tissue in the ear resulting in temporary or permanent hearing loss. Make sure your workplace noise is kept at the right levels so you don’t end up with an inbox full of COID claims. Follow these three guidelines to prevent noise pollution.

According to The Health and Safety Advisor, noise pollution is unpleasant or unwanted sound. It comes from human or machine sources and disrupts the quality of the workplace environment.
The most common sources of noise include cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, aircraft and rail noise. Other sources of noise pollution include construction work, factory machinery, office equipment, appliances and power tools.
As part of your obligation to protect the health and safety of your employees, it’s important that you know the effects of noise pollution.
Excessive noise levels can be hazardous and can lead to annoyance, aggression, abnormal secretions of hormones, tensing of muscles and high blood pressure.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Complications and further health problems include forgetfulness, depression and panic attacks. Noise also interferes with communication, which can affect your employee’s work performance and safety.
That’s why it’s vital that you prevent noise pollution in your workplace. It’s not worth the added risk of COID claims you’ll face if you ignore this are.
Follow these three guidelines to prevent noise pollution
Guideline #1: Look at the source
According to The Health and Safety Advisor, the best way of controlling sound is from where it starts and that’s why you must do the following:
  • Replace equipment with quieter models.
  • Look at your maintenance procedures, for example, lubrication can reduce noise by reducing friction.
  • Modify equipment where possible to reduce the amount of noise it’s generating.
  • Cover the equipment with sound absorbing materials.
  • Isolate vibrating machinery.
  • Reduce fan speeds.
  • Fit silencers on exhausts.
  • Enclose machinery parts.
  • Position sources of noise further away from workers.
Guideline #2: Look at the surrounding area
  • Put soundproof barriers, walls, ceilings and enclosures around noisy machinery.
  • Use insulation to contain sound within buildings where noisy work is carried out.
  • Change working patterns so that any exposure to high noise levels is for shorter lengths of time.
  • Do noisy work after hours to reduce the number of employees exposed.
Guideline #3: Look at your administrative controls
  • Change the way work is carried out.
  • Reduce the time employees spend in a noisy area.
  • Rotate workers from noisy areas to less noisy areas.
  • Where noise can’t be reduced, provide hearing protection. This includes earplugs and earmuffs that fit properly.
  • Implement a Hearing Conservation Programme. This’ll ensure all health and safety regulations are adhered to through training, testing, evaluation and follow-up of employees
Using these guidelines will help you prevent noise pollution in your workplace and most importantly you’ll avoid COID claims from affected employees.

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