Industrial noise, what is it and how to prevent it

noise pollution is a serious problem that usually goes unnoticed by most people. Although we do not realize it, in our day to day we are exposed to many noises, and they could harm our health. Proof of this is industrial noise, the noise to which workers in factories, construction sites, construction or recycling plants are exposed. This may be perceived as a simple annoyance, but it is a threat to safety and health. Industrial noise can occur continuously, as in the case of engines or machinery; or in the form of impact, with hammers or presses. Noise in industry is the most frequent occupational hazard and its effects appear gradually, causing it to be perceived as something typical of the job and the aging of the worker. The noise power and intensity level is measured in decibels (dB). Depending on its intensity, we can classify it into:
  • From 0 to 20 dB we find the human hearing threshold.
  • From 20 to 50 dB communication can easily develop.
  • From 50 to 80 dB communication is possible, but with difficulties.
  • Between 80 and 110 dB is the limit value that can be tolerated during a working day, although measures should be taken to reduce it.
  • As of 110dB, communication is impossible.

How to prevent and protect workers from industrial noise?

Studies indicate that a high level of industrial noise can cause everything from temporary hearing loss, stress or difficulty with verbal communication, to permanent hearing loss and other cardiac or respiratory problems. To prevent noise in the industry from causing serious health problems, it is required that analyzes be carried out in a factory to identify work areas where noise is concentrated and protect the health of workers who are exposed to high noise levels. In accordance with the occupational risk prevention plan of each facility, measures must be taken to minimize the harmful effects of industrial noise on workers. Some generic guidelines to achieve this can be:
  • Noise reduction at source. It is possible to fix the machines that emit the most noise and install the necessary material to avoid vibrations or sources of noise. acoustic panels can also be installed in the room to achieve adequate sound performance.
  • Modification of production processes to reduce noise. This point is perhaps more complicated for companies, but when it comes to caring for the health of workers, it should not be avoid any effort.
  • Adoption of organizational measures to reduce the exposure time of workers to sources of noise.
  • Provide protective equipment to workers. In the event that exposure to noise by the worker is unavoidable, they can always be offered earplugs and earmuffs to reduce the noise to which it is exposed.