How to reduce noise pollution in construction
When first thinking of pollution from construction, many people would consider the emissions from machinery and vehicles first and foremost, but another prominent issue with construction sites comes in the form of noise pollution.
Excessive noise, particularly for prolonged periods of time, is not only a nuisance to workers and neighbours, it can lead to health issues such as hearing loss, tinnitus, sleep disturbance and increased blood pressure. Jobs across an average site – from welding and drilling to demolition and excavating – all make noise which contributes to the din of construction. So, for the health of tradespeople and the happiness of neighbours, let’s take a look at how noise pollution in construction can be reduced.
If you are aware of the risks of noise pollution and have enough forethought, you can make the decision to invest in specifically manufactured, quieter equipment. This may be that you select a machine which uses quieter cooling fans or whose engineering tolerances are higher, or you could select equipment for processes which are themselves quieter. These machines may come with a higher upfront price tag, but in the long run they are cost effective compared to continued costs of hearing protection equipment or the medical costs associated with hearing loss.
If you have already got equipment, there are modifications you can make to control noise levels. A common option is to fit silencers to plant machinery or sound dampening casing to equipment. However, in some cases, good maintenance practices are all that’s needed to make a noticeable difference. By ensuring bolts are tightened, parts are well lubricated and there is no wear or damage to your equipment, you can reduce the occurrence of rattling, screeching, clunking and all manner of other excessive operating noise, as well as improving safety.
- Choose a blade with the largest amount of teeth and small width
- Choose a blade with the smallest possible gullets
- Seek out blades which have in-built vibration dampening slots
- Ensure the water supply to your blade is sufficient
- Check equipment for wear, changing the blade if it shows signs of impairment
Creating a designated space, enclosed in sound-blocking materials, for necessary cutting, sawing, jack hammering or other such work, can really help to reduce overall site noise. Cheap plywood panels lined with a sound absorbing material – for example, mineral wool – are a popular choice for such enclosures.
With good site organisation, you can control workers’ exposure to noise. When planning the work schedule on site, you could limit the number of other operatives on site when noisy tasks – for example, excavation or concrete breaking – are being carried out. What’s more, by rotating jobs on site, workers could be moved from a high noise task to a low one to reduce prolonged sound exposure.
Personal protection equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as ear plugs and earmuffs, should only be used when other noise reducing controls are impractical, as a last resort. However, due to the dynamic, ever-changing nature of a construction site, it can be hard to effectively control noise output at all times and so PPE measures are quite frequently employed. Safety is paramount and hearing PPE should be used when noise levels are above 85 decibels. It is worth noting that steps should be taken to make sure hearing protection should not be allowed to impede other PPE.
By employing experienced professionals such as Concrete Drilling Services, you can rest assured that you are working with trustworthy operatives who know how to put into practice strict health and safety standards, including those related to reducing noise pollution. We provide specialist concrete cutting and drilling services, achieving precise results every time thanks to our skilled team and cutting edge equipment. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team today.