Industrial Noise Monitoring
Noise is one of the most pervasive and underestimated hazards in the modern workplace.
As the impact of noise is somewhat subjective, its effect on people varies hugely. While there are many who seem quite resistant to ongoing noise, others are vulnerable to a whole host of negative effects.
There are identifiable and scientifically proven health implications for those who are exposed to ongoing, excessive noise. According to the European Environment Agency, environmental noise contributes to at least 10,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. Almost 20 million adults experience annoyance and a further 8 million experience sleep disturbance as a result of environmental noise.
Noise monitoring at industrial sites is required for a combination of regulatory, environmental and community reasons. Measurement requirements can vary from short-term, detailed readings to longer-term monitoring of noise emission trends. Our sound level monitors and web-based tools are used across a range of industries to understand and control noise emissions from commercial sites. We have worked with our customers on projects ranging from short-term complaint analysis, to ongoing community engagement initiatives. One such project was the Wyeth Nutrition project.
Wyeth Nutrition operate a food manufacturing plant in Limerick that manufactures infant nutrition products, which are supplied to customers all over the world. The company has an excellent relationship with the local community and source the majority of their supplies from the surrounding area. The team at the plant also work closely with the EPA to ensure that the factory operates at extremely high environmental standards. When the company received a noise complaint from a neighbouring property, they took it very seriously and asked Sonitus Systems to help them understand and resolve the problem. With multiple machines and processes running at all times of the day there was a huge number of possible noise sources to be investigated, something that would take extensive time and effort with manual measurements.
Noise complaints are not unusual in areas where industrial companies operate, however, noise can be a nuisance for local communities, something Wyeth Nutrition did not want to cause. Wyeth Nutrition needed to identify the noise source in order to understand how to reduce the noise impact. Rotating equipment schedules and varying weather conditions made manual noise measurement difficult.
Sonitus Systems deployed two Sound Level Monitors for a two-week period. One was placed on site, at the drying towers and another at the home of their neighbour. Continuous sound level readings were automatically taken at short intervals for the full two weeks, recording all relevant sound level measurements and statistics. Sound levels and equipment performance were both monitored remotely 24 hours a day. The environmental team also monitored all weather conditions, while their neighbour kept a log of any noisy activities. This allowed them to build up a complete picture of the sound levels on site and at the neighbouring property with the minimum amount of effort.
This was hugely important for Wyeth Nutrition as they wanted to continue the good relationships with the neighbours involved, and of course with the extended community. Too often when industrial noise is complained about, there is an antagonising lack of action. Wyeth Nutrition wanted to collaborate with their local community to ensure noise was not an issue in their daily lives. In terms of this project, Wyeth wanted readings, logs and information to tackle the problem. Analysis tools could identify repeat patterns in sound levels which were then matched to specific pieces of equipment, allowing the team to detect what was causing the peak sound levels that caused complaints. Operating schedules were changed to alter the times equipment was used at nighttime or times that residents noted noise nuisance to reduce the noise impact on them. Wyeth's ability to work with the residents meant they managed the operation noise and avoided an expensive retrofit.
The future of industrial noise impacts
Industrial sites are expected to work closely with the European Environmental Agency (EPA) to ensure that industrial noise legislation is adhered to. Industrial noise is a significant issue; however, it is one that can be managed with the right noise monitoring solution - something Sonitus Systems are well experienced in.
Sonitus Systems supply robust and reliable sound level monitoring equipment globally from their base in Dublin. Their award-winning products and services allow users to easily monitor and assess noise levels in any scenario to ensure compliance. For more information, call the team at Sonitus Systems on +353 1 6778443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org