Monitor and measure noise exposure
04 January 2022
WG SAFETY & Environmental is using the Casella dBadge2 dosimeter to drive business compliance in occupational health and safety.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common, yet preventable, occupational health hazard. It is estimated that by 2050 over 700 million people worldwide, equivalent to one in every ten, will have disabling hearing loss.1 NIHL can seriously affect the wellbeing, quality of life and performance of employees. Impaired communication with co-workers, friends and family, and a decreased ability to monitor the environment for warning signals or equipment noise can result in anxiety, increased injuries, and social isolation. Employers, meanwhile, run the risk of lost productivity and severe compensation and insurance claims.
The importance of effective noise management is a fact WG Safety & Environmental2 knows all too well. Its team of consultants work tirelessly day in and day out to help businesses from various sectors minimise employee noise exposure and, ultimately, meet their health, safety and environmental compliance obligations. For accuracy and traceability, its team uses the Casella dBadge2 dosimeter, designed to help individuals with a complex work pattern and varying noise level exposure, or those who complete certain tasks that are difficult to monitor with a sound level meter, such as operators of mobile handling equipment.
Chris Richardson, manager of occupational hygiene, safety & environmental services at WG Safety & Environmental, shares why the dBadge2 has become an essential part of ensuring his clients are safe and compliant.
What challenges did your consultancy want to solve for its clients when it purchased the dBadge2?
Chris Richardson comments, “Reducing noise by technical and organisational measures is the primary obligation under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. Noise-induced hearing loss is particularly prevalent in mining, construction, oil and gas sectors, and a wide variety of industrial manufacturing, warehousing and distribution activities where the cumulative effects of noise exposure can lead to irreversible yet avoidable hearing damage. We carry out assessments to provide our clients with detailed advice on minimising employees noise exposure, which can include workplace design and layout, reducing worker exposure through job rotation, or noise control measures achieved through acoustic screening, machinery design, isolation and absorption of noise. However, before we can help our clients minimise exposure, we need to understand the causes. The dBadge2 ensures we are accurate in our assessments for both A and C-weighted noise exposure.”
How does the dBadge2 ensure accuracy?
“It is important to remember that noise dosimeter measurements are open to spurious results from employees, especially when first used, so any high exposures recorded should be checked to see if they are a legitimate part of the workers’ exposure. The dBadge2 dosimeter can record audio, meaning sound can be played back to determine what the exposure was from, such as a particular machine, or indeed that it was spurious in which case it can be excluded from the daily or weekly exposure assessment, giving us a level of accuracy that is invaluable to our final assessment.”
How does the dBadge2 help you on a client’s site?
“The dBadge2 uses Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity and a supporting Airwave app, which means we can remotely start, stop or pause a measurement run, monitor battery life and memory capacity, check measurement progress and alarms without having to disturb the client who may be involved in a critical task or be otherwise inaccessible. This helps us manage our time on-site because even if an unforeseen deadline occurs for the client we can get to work. Meanwhile, our client’s workforce stays productive.
Being able to see our survey progress on the Airwave app minimises the likelihood of having to return to a client’s site to complete repeat measurements.”
What made the dBadge2 stand out over other solutions that you researched?
“All our assessments are carried out using the latest technology Class 1 hand-held sound level meters, plus dosimeters with audio capabilities for capturing peak noise, all calibrated to current industry standards and guidelines. As a consultancy, we need to know that all our tools are up-to-date and reliable. Dependability is particularly crucial for us because we travel throughout the UK and Europe to carry out assessments. We chose the dBadge2 because Casella continuously upgrades its products with software improvements, giving our clients and ourselves the confidence to know we provide detailed and accurate information that is up to the latest industry standards.
WG Safety & Environmental has been using Casella products for over 15 years. We continue this relationship because the products are reliable, the technical support is excellent, and the monitoring data we gather is invaluable to our clients. Ultimately, we chose the Casella dBadge2 because we don’t take a risk on health and safety. We advance it.”