Noisy environments place companies and workers at risk. Government health and safety regulations limit the amount of noise to which workers may be exposed throughout the work day. Companies that violate these regulations risk fines. These regulations are largely designed to prevent hearing loss; however, there are other benefits to minimizing environmental noise at work.
Many of the solutions to workplace noise are relatively inexpensive. Machines may be modified with simple devices. For example devices may be put on noise reducing casters to minimize rattles during equipment transport.
Employees who work in excessive noise may find it difficult to concentrate. Some employees may have conditions that make concentration more difficult. When employees make mistakes as a result of poor concentration, time and money are spent correcting the errors.
Noise also impacts communication among members of a team. Often, teams must be able to convey information quickly and there is little time for clarification or repeats.
Reduce Company Health Costs
Biologically, human beings listen for sounds in order to react to the environment. Humans become more alert when they hear sounds, especially those that may signal danger. Working in a noisy environment produces agitation and stress. Ongoing stress can then lead to health concerns such as high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and mental health problems. These conditions will affect a company’s bottom line through higher health care spending.
The hearing loss that results from occupational noise exposure also increases a company’s health care spending. Hearing aids cost thousands of dollars, which are partially covered by many health insurance plans. Even if a health care plan does not cover hearing aids, hearing loss leads to anxiety, depression, and poorer communication with medical professionals.
Companies should consider controlling noise in the workplace not only to avoid government fines, put also to improve their bottom line with higher employee productivity and reduced expenses.