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Eurocoustics noise control.

Reducing Noise in Hygienic Environments

Noise is an almost inevitable by-product of any manufacturing process, and for many years it has been recognized that excessive exposure to high levels of noise can be harmful. Hearing damage develops gradually but it is permanent, it cannot be reversed. A great deal of research has been conducted into the effects of noise exposure considering the impact on both hearing and production efficiency which has also been found to be affected dramatically by the presence of high levels of noise. In 1989 the Noise at Work Regulations imposed a statutory duty on employers to reduce their employees risk from high levels of noise exposure. Regulation 7 states that exposure must be reduced as far as is reasonably practical, by means other than using ear protectors, where an eight hour exposure level of 90dBA is reached.

How Do You Identify That You Have A Noise Problem?

The effect of noise on a human being's hearing is governed by two factors, the noise level and the length of time to which a person is exposed. Noise Levels are measured in decibels using the A weighted scale (dBA). The A weighting is used because this closely represents the frequency response of the human ear. Because of the relationship between exposure time and noise level personal exposure, Levels are in Lepd.

Currently noise exposure levels are based on a maximum Lepd of 90dBA for an 8 hour period. Higher levels of noise will mean that the Lepd level will be reached in a shorter time and conversely longer periods of exposure to lower levels of noise can also breach the maximum permitted level. The following chart illustrates this point.
Noise Level dBA 90 93 96 99 102
Exposure Time 8hr 4hr 2hr 1hr 0.5hr

In practice noise levels are seldom constant and any peaks, even for a short period, will reduce permitted exposure times. Although current legislation uses 90dBA as the bench mark there is already much discussion within the EC to reduce this to 85dBA. The Noise at Work Legislation currently set what is called the first action level at 85dBA which demands amongst other things a noise assessment be made by a "Competent Person" and a record of this assessment be retained.

If you think you may have a noise problem your first step is to instigate this initial noise assessment. (A Competent Person is one who holds an official certificate of competence as issued by the Institute of Acoustics.)

What Do You Do If You Discover You Have A Noise Problem?

In simple terms you have two options either reduce your operators exposure time or reduce the levels of noise to which they are exposed.

Noise reduction can be achieved using a number of techniques and it is the choice of the appropriate technique that determines both the effectiveness and practicality of any form of treatment. It is important at this stage that professional advice is sought to avoid the costly errors that can occur if ineffective or inappropriate treatments are employed.

The Food Processing Industry has many other important factors to take into account when considering noise control treatments, such as the Food Hygiene Regulations. All materials introduced into the manufacturing area must not absorb dirt or moisture and are capable of being easily cleaned. Nothing about their construction is permitted that might lead to contamination by dirt or bacteria.

Eurocoustics Ltd was established in the UK principally to address the demands of the highly specialized field of Hygienic Noise Control. Having compiled a range of noise products that fully satisfy the demands of the industry and combining this with a high level of professional expertise in solving noise problems. Eurocoustics are in the unique position of being able to offer a comprehensive service backed up by many years experience in Mainland Europe working with several brand leaders to help them solve their noise problems.

The techniques employed in reducing noise, range from room treatments using acoustically absorbent panels either in the form of a suspended ceiling, hanging baffles or wall cladding. Treatment of noise at source via panel damping and the blocking of noise using purpose built enclosure and screens.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:reducing noise at the workplace
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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