Noise can be a nuisance and especially in the workplace where people are required to concentrate and be very productive. It is important to measure the noise in the workplace. Measuring the levels of noise is a great part of the workplace noise control program and hearing conservation. This survey allows one to identify the location where there is a noise problem and if there are any employees affected. Sometimes it is necessary to make some additional measurements of noise.
How it is done
For the purposes of occupational hygiene, sound pressure level is usually done with the determination of noise exposure. There are various techniques and equipment's that can be used. The choice depends on the information that is needed and the workplace house that you are dealing with. There is the need to take time to identify whether indeed there is an issue with noise in the workplace.
Identifying this noise problems in the workplace is the very first step that will help you determine whether you need to intervene. There are some indicators of noise levels that can be hazardous and they include:
- The noise is louder than the traffic in the city
- You have to raise your voice when you are speaking to a person who is around a meter away.
- At the end of the day, people have to increase volume of TV or radio to levels that are loud for the other people,
- After the workers have been in the office after a few years they face difficulties of communication in a crowd or party situation especially when there are many voices or other sound.
Things that should be considered when one is planning for noise measurement
Before you start the measurements, you need to determine the information that you need. The things that you need to understand include:
Measurement purpose: you could be doing it because of a need to comply with the regulations of noise, prevention of hearing noise, annoyance to the community, control noise and so on.
Source of noise and time of operation
The noise pattern, whether impulse, intermittent, variable or continuous
The location of the people who are exposed
What the initial surveys do
Typically, an initial survey is done and it is a survey that helps to determine if:
- There is actually a noise problem
- If there is a need for other measurements
There is a need to determine the exposure levels to the noise. When the workplace is steady, the noise survey can then be applied in the determination of how employees are exposed.
Instruments used in measurement of noise
One of the instruments that are very common in the measure of the noise level is the sound level meter also called the SLM. There is also the noise dosimeter and the Integrating sound level meter or the ISLM. You should be able to understand the operation, calibration and the reading of the instrument in use as you will be able to achieve accurate readings at the end of the day.