The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) is the legislation concerned with the issue of noise in and around the workplace. Noise can affect people and wildlife living nearby and can also affect employees and workers on site. Noise control and damage limitation falls under the aegis of the Health and Safety Officer of the business, be it a factory, a construction site or any other form of workplace.
It is important that noise pollution guidelines are understood and thoroughly implemented as, quite often, hearing damage can occur many years after the exposure to the excessive noise.
If workers feel that their hearing is fine after a certain amount of exposure to loud and damaging sounds, they may feel that they can ignore safety warnings, only to lose their hearing ten, twenty or thirty years later.
Wildlife breeding patterns can be affected by loud noises, with some species being pushed to the brink of extinction when they are exposed to loud noises in their already constrained habitat. Health and Safety Officers, while primarily concerned with human safety, should also bear in mind the lives of animals and birds living in the area.
Management should opt for machinery and equipment that is user-friendly, rather than using the lowest price as a guideline. For example, in urban construction and similar projects, it is often a much better deal to use diamond-tipped drills rather than other types as the diamond-tipped drills are quieter and faster at work. This means that less time and money will need to be invested in protective equipment, and that the job will be completed in a considerably shorter time, thus creating less noise for a shorter duration than might otherwise have been the case. Once installed, machinery should be carefully and appropriately maintained. This not only means that the machine is working at optimum levels, but the noise produced by the machine is likely to be kept to a minimum too.
Every job and project should have a thorough risk assessment performed on it. Those jobs that do involve a high degree of exposure to excessive noise (this can be very deep, very high or very loud noises, all of which can have an effect on human ears over time) should always include frequent rotation of staff away from the worst of the noise. For example, having strict time limits about how long any one employee can spend at the drilling face before being allowed into a noise-free area for a rest.
Noise does not necessarily have to seem loud or painful to have an effect, and should anyone need to raise their voice to be heard over the noise, it is highly likely that the volume or pitch is already at a potentially dangerous level.
While it may be impossible to reduce noise levels at the point of use, for example at a drill face, every possible effort should be made to control how far that noise spreads. Acoustic dampening products are widely available, both for permanent fixtures and temporary protection against noise. Ear plugs and ear defenders work well to reduce the literal battering that ears can take in certain noisy jobs, and using tools appropriately and maintaining them can all help to keep noise levels at an acceptable level.
But Why Worry?
Whatever your drilling or concrete cutting needs, the team here at Drilltec can help you out. As experts in the field, we comply with all the rules and regulations and we can get the job done quickly, professionally and as quietly as possible! Give us a call today and let us know your concrete cutting, drilling and sawing needs.