Industrial Walls for Noise Control: Do They Really Help?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year.” In industrial or manufacturing facilities, harmful noise levels can be generated by assembly and machine tool operations, process equipment like compressors and blowers, material handling equipment, and power tools like saws and grinders. OSHA warns that excessive noise can cause long-term hearing damage, physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries.

Due to the dangers of extreme sound levels, OSHA requires employers to limit employee noise exposure to 85 dB or less on an eight-hour time-weighted average basis. Employers are required to take action to reduce employee exposure to levels below that threshold. The good news is there is an effective solution for your facility found in using industrial soundproof curtains for noise control.

What are Commonly Used Industrial Noise Control Methods?

Finding the right noise-blocking equipment for your space is a must. Doing so will ensure that your workers stay safe and that you are well within OSHA’s noise exposure limits. Before looking at acoustic curtain walls, it is beneficial to discuss some of the other methods used to protect workers from excessive noise.

One solution that companies turn to is replacing noise-producing equipment with quieter models. Yet this can be a costly noise mitigation solution and is not always possible. Sometimes noisy machines can be modified with isolation pads or vibration dampeners to reduce or vanquish excessive sound.

Another way to prevent industrial noise exposure is placing noise reduction barriers between offending equipment and the affected employees. These barriers typically are rigid insulated walls or partitions strategically placed to block the path of transmitted sound waves and absorb and scatter them. Encasing machines in sound-absorbing enclosures or materials is also an option.

Arguably, earmuffs and earplugs are one of the most frequently used methods of industrial noise protection. They are inexpensive and easy to have available around a facility. Despite the pros, earmuffs and earplugs have the obvious shortcoming of only being useful while actually worn, and only when worn and fitted properly. In some instances, they can provide too much protection. Overprotection can insulate ears from critical noises designed to protect workers, which can easily lead to serious injury.

Why Your Company Should Opt for Industrial Curtain Walls

Industrial sound dampening curtains offer a relatively new approach to providing employee safety and comfort when it comes to noise levels in a commercial or industrial facility. Acoustic curtain walls normally consist of two layers of a woven, coated fabric surrounding one or more layers of various insulating materials. These materials might include fiber batting, open cell foam, or densified “loaded” vinyl or other flexible polymer sheet material. Each component plays an important role in reducing sound levels encroaching on the curtain surface. The curtains are normally made of five-foot wide panels and have vertical hook and loop fasteners to join multiple panels creating a full width curtain.

Noisy machines can be wrapped in flexible sound curtains, like a “blanket.” They can also be attached to a close quarters support frame around the equipment. Larger sound enclosures can be formed using these curtains, including complete rooms or separating walls.

On average, industrial soundproof curtains for noise control can reduce noise levels in your facility by 22-25 dBAs. Rite-Hite SZ acoustic curtain walls also provide the following benefits:

  • Help meet OSHA noise standards
  • Keep your employees safe, comfortable, and productive
  • Easy and affordable to install
  • Offers long-term flexibility to reconfigure, relocate, or remove

Constant loud noises in the workplace are a significant health hazard to employees. Dealing with high noise levels can be a difficult and expensive undertaking, but it is necessary. Acoustic curtain walls represent a cost-effective and flexible alternative to classic methods used for noise abatement. Want to know if Rite-Hite SZ industrial sound dampening curtains are the right solution for your facility? Contact our team today to learn about pricing, customization options, and more.

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