Noise levels in metal fabrication workshops are typically between 80-125dB(A). Any level above 85dB(A) can cause irreversible hearing loss.
In metal fabrication workshops there are a number of noise sources, including welders, angle grinders, metal presses, cutting saws, hammering and bashing. Noise levels in these workshops normally range between approximately 80-125dB(A).
Science proves that any noise level above 85dB(A) can cause hearing loss, and an unprotected worker can only be safely exposed to this level for 8 hours. An increase of only 3dB, to 88dB(A), halves the safe exposure time to only 4 hours, and a further increase to 91dB(A) causes the worker to be in jeopardy after only two hours!
Noise induced hearing loss in this industry is a very real and common health risk. In many cases it is ignored until it is too late and irreversible industrial deafness has occurred.
High noise levels also create other risks in the workplace. Excess noise could result in a worker not hearing a warning bell or an evacuation alarm. It could mean someone doesn't hear a forklift or a truck behind them. It could mean they don't hear their colleague shouting a warning or calling for help. So much is at risk through not controlling workplace noise and action must be taken to reduce this risk or, ultimately, remove it completely.
There are government standards in place which companies must adhere to, but it's not only about complying with the law. Employers have a duty of care for their employees and must be responsible and considerate for the health and safety of their staff, the surrounding community and the environment.
Noise control in action
Engineering company, Abcor Pty Ltd approached Flexshield as the noise in their workshop was at a dangerous level, which could pose serious risks to the physical and emotional health of their staff, as well as clients visiting the workshop. Abcor operates out of a large metal working shop, which incorporates a series of boiler maker, welding and grinding bays.
To combat this noise, tailor made Acoustic Bays were erected in a series of cubicles in order to separate the welding and grinding process from the rest of the workshop. The Acoustic Bays were constructed from SonicSystem Panels and fitted with Rapid Roll Doors with Acoustic vision panels to meet Abcor's specific requirements.
After investing in Flexshield's Acoustic Bays, Abcor benefited from significant noise reduction in their workshop. This reduction ensured the protection of visiting clients, and allowed staff to continue operations in a safer, more ergonomically pleasant work environment.
As Australian industry becomes increasingly aware of the impact of noise on staff members, clients and the surrounding community and environment, measures must be taken to ensure that business standards are met, WHS criteria is followed, and government legislation is complied with.
Law must be adhered to, and employers must be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their staff. Act today to ensure your staff are safe, and your business is not liable.