Acoustics in the working environment

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If employees are exposed to a risk from noise, noise exposure should be included as part of the workplace assessment

Noise is a major issue in occupational health and safety, and many companies and institutions are obliged to evaluate the acoustics of their working premises. COWI has a long track record of assessing noise and acoustics in connection with a workplace assessment.

According to national regulations, all companies must carry out a workplace assessment at regular intervals, and if employees are exposed to a risk from noise, noise exposure should be included as part of the assessment. If holding a conversation proves difficult, then this is an indication that noise should be included in the workplace assessment.

From assessment to action plan

A company's health and safety department can ask for a professional consultancy company such as COWI to assist with the noise and acoustics when they carry out their workplace assessment.

COWI assesses noise and acoustics according to the environmental authorities' guidelines. Where the recommended limits are exceeded, we contribute to the subsequent action plan in order to bring matters into order.

Noise measurements

If noise levels are high, COWI investigates the significant noise sources. For example, noise measurements of plant machinery in production halls and workshops determine where signing is necessary to indicate that noise protection is required.

Noise dose measurements

Noise dose measurements are a special kind of noise measurement. An employee exposed to a potentially high noise exposure level wears a small dosimeter in the course of one or several working days. A microphone attached to the employee's collar logs noise levels and thereby gives a direct expression of the employee's actual noise exposure.

When the employee's working routines are correspondingly noted, a noise dose measurement can be a very valuable tool in the assessment of noise exposure. COWI provides a dosimeter and takes care of the analysis and the interpretation of the results.

Reverberation measurements and absorption area

When the acoustics of offices and production areas is being evaluated, we measure reverberation time, which is the most commonly used parameter when a room's acoustics is to be described.

Where the environmental authority sets guidelines for reverberation time, we compare the measured value with recommended guidelines. The equivalent area of absorption is the defining parameter for large rooms such as production halls. In this case we use various methods to determine if the recommended requirement is met.

Action plansThe most important part of a workplace assessment is the action plan in which solutions are presented to the problems uncovered during the first phase of the workplace assessment. COWI identifies the necessary noise mitigation measures and changes to the acoustics necessary to adhere to environmental authority guidelines.

LAST UPDATED: 12.12.2016