The noise-related risks to staff can be just as high in warehousing environments as they are in a factory – making noise reduction strategies an essential consideration for warehouse operators. Let’s look at why warehouse noise reduction is critical and the key factors that can help create a healthier environment.
How Noisy Can Warehouses Get?
Although every situation is different, estimates suggest that noise levels in warehouses can easily reach 90 decibels, which is on par with what we’d find in a factory or construction site – but in many warehouses operatives do not wear ear protection PPE.
Workplace noise levels are regulated by law, so keeping them within limits matters from a compliance perspective, and also from an occupational health point of view. Simple strategies, such as matching your choice of trolley castors to your flooring type, can make a real difference in improving the working environment for your warehouse staff.
The Risks Of Noise Exposure
Exposure to noise has health implications that go beyond being an annoyance. Constant loud noise can lead to impaired hearing and even to hearing loss. In fact, noise doesn’t have to be noticeably ‘loud’ to cause this level of damage, since moderate ambient workplace noise levels can have the same effect. Researchers have found that in some cases, the damage is irreversible and can even affect the brain cells that process sounds.
Moreover, noise is a major source of stress for workers. Our bodies have an automatic physiological response to it ranging from the release of stress hormones to spikes in blood pressure. A stressful environment can be costly in several ways.
First, high stress levels can affect the mental health of employees and impact workplace productivity.
Secondly, studies have shown that working in a noisy environment can lead to exhaustion, since staff must do extra work to ignore the disruption, cope with the stress is causing them, and at the same time continue working and completing tasks.
Excessive noise and the stress this entails can cause employees to take more sick days, which raises employment costs while lowering output.
Preventative Action You Can Take Now
To avoid the negative impact of workplace noise, it’s crucial to identify the main factors contributing to it. In the case of warehouses, these include:
- Box and pallet strapping or taping.
- Rotating wrapping machines.
- Loading and unloading stock through rear trailer ramps.
- The use of trolleys, roll cages and pallet trucks, which can expose operators to noise levels above 85dB.
This last point is important because it can be easily and cheaply addressed to prevent further problems. The main causes of trolley noise are the wheels and castors that they run on. Using industrial castor wheels specifically designed to minimise noise pollution can decrease overall exposure and help create a healthier warehouse environment.
At Rolltek, we design and manufacture a variety of industrial castors for warehouse use, in line with your warehouse requirements and with the recommendations made by the Noise Abatement Society.
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