Noise in the workplace
There are a lot of health and safety concerns within the workplace that both employers and employees have to be aware of. Most people think about the common issues such as those that will cause injuries or potentially put others in danger. However, not much thought is usually given to a much more common, yet invisible, health and safety issue that might be occurring in the workplace: noise.
Most people are able to tune out background noise, especially if the sounds are repetitive. However, just because you are not consciously aware of, or bothered by the noise around you, doesn’t mean that it is not impacting your health. It has been proven that exposure to large amounts of high decibel noise for a prolonged period of time can cause many health issues.
Of course, excessive noise can lead to hearing loss, but more frightening is the fact that it can also lead to the development of ulcers, hypertension, high blood pressure and many other health problems. In addition, where there is a lot of noise, your brain can be confused by the large amount of input it receives, even if you think that you have tuned it out. The end result is that people are not able to comprehend crucial information and are more likely to make errors.
There are some work environments that are naturally noisy, but there are health and safety procedures that can be put in place to protect everyone from the potential damage of noise. Safety Training regulations state that employees should wear ear muffs, ear plugs, or other hearing protectors if they work in constant noise. Noise protectors are a great way to shield the ear drums and reduce the amount of noise the brain is required to process. By using them correctly and regularly, workers can help reduce many of the health risks that come with such a work environment.
One great proactive way to make sure that employees stay safe while at work is to place safety posters in areas that have high levels of noise. The safety posters should have a reminder on them that employees need to wear proper protective gear in any designated section of the workplace. The posters should also clearly explain how the protective gear is correctly worn to make it easier for workers to get it right the first time.
As an added note, the responsibility for health and safety doesn’t just lie with the employer, employees should also know their rights in the workplace, one of which is the right to refuse to do any tasks if the proper hearing protectors are not made available to everyone who needs them.