Risks Of Using Loud Air Compressors & Possible Solutions
The risks of loud air compressors are often overlooked by shop owners and their employees.
Those loud air compressors Commonly used in air conditioning, building and construction, automobile repair, food processing, and pharmaceutical industries, some air compressors can be very loud.
If not checked, continued exposure to such noise can lead to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL in human beings may be caused by a single exposure to extremely loud noises or prolonged exposure to regular loud noises at the workplace.
Based on research findings, cases of work-related hearing loss have reduced significantly in the recent past.
In some cases, NIHL may be accompanied by tinnitus—a condition that causes persistent ringing in your ears. Just like NIHL, tinnitus is also caused by exposure to loud noise over time.
The condition may worsen to an extent that you just can not hear anything beyond the ringing in your ears.
Prevalence of NIHL in the US
About 24% of Americans aged 20 to 69 years exhibit symptoms in one or both ears to suggest noise-induced hearing loss. This is according to a 2010 -2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Report.
People suffering from this condition have a problem understanding speech in noisy places, such as restaurants. While there is a considerable decline in NIHL cases, evidence suggests that employers still need to regulate noise levels at the workplace.
Air compressors are important tools in a number of industries today, including automotive repair, woodworking, food processing, air conditions, as well as building, and construction.
A good number of the air compressor models in the market are quite noisy and may have negative impacts on people over time.
What is the Impact of Loud Noise on a Person?
What level of noise is harmful to your health? To understand this, you first need to understand how noise is measured. For comparison, a normal verbal conversation is often about 60 dB to 62 dB. Most of the air compressors currently in use are rated 40 dB to 100 dB.
The louder the equipment at your workplace, the more susceptible you will be to work-related hearing loss. Continued exposure to excessive noise at the workplace may result in an array of permanent or temporary effects, including:
- Loud equipment noises tend to cause chaos and dysfunction among employees in that environment
- Noisy air compressors, especially the piston compressors, start and stop at intervals and can be a constant distraction. If the compressor is loud enough, you may find the unit to be really annoying.
- Several studies into the matter have revealed that loud noise can also limit communication, lower morale, and affect employee productivity.
- Noise levels of more than 35 decibels have been proven to cause anger or irritation
- If the noise is upwards of 65 dB is known to predispose one or stress, nervousness, and interrupted concentration
- If the noise intensity exceeds 80 dB, it can cause hearing impairment with time.
- Continued exposure to noises with an intensity of more than 120 dB can actually lead to hearing impairment, such as damage to the inner ear.
That said, employees have a legal obligation to control noise levels at the workplace and ensure that their employees are safe.
How to Reduce Work-Related Noise
If you work in a workshop, it is quite hard to avoid noise with all the tools and machinery running.
However, there are several things you can do to regulate noise intensity at the workplace. Here are some tips to help you regulate noise levels at the workplace:
Solution # 1: Replace the Air Compressor
The air compressor is one of the loud things in a factory or an auto body shop. As you may be aware, rotary air compressors are quieter in operation than other types of compressors. Rotary vane air compressors produce the lowest noise levels of all air compressor types.
In their functioning, these compressors run at a speed slower than that of a rotary screw compressor (ideally 950 to 2,250 RPM). Again, there is no metal-to-metal contact in these units. Since rotary air compressors have fewer moving parts, they experience less friction, hence are quieter.
Instead of the bearings often used in rotary screw compressors, the best rotary vane compressors feature white metal brushings.
These make the unit quieter and more durable. These allow for quiet performance, such that the only audible noise is that of the cooling fan in the compressor.
Solution #2: Relocate the Air Compressor
Although rotary air compressors produce a noise intensity, you may still find it to be a bit noisy. If so, it is advisable to position the compressor away from the working area, preferably in a soundproofing cabinet.
With this Quiet air compressor installed away from the working area, it will be impossible for anyone to tell whether you have one running at any given time.
Solution # 3: Use Mufflers
Mufflers are still a recommended way of reducing noise levels in industrial work environments. However, it will be hard for you to communicate with your ears plugged. Instead of such interventions, you should just get a quieter air compressor.
The leading rotary vane air compressor models are rated as low as 63 dB. Reducing noise levels will keep the employees safe, and create a conducive working environment.
The best rotary screw air compressors are reliable, efficient, produce clean air, and most importantly, are quieter in operation. As compared to other compressor types, rotary air compressors produce noise levels of as low as 63dB.