Noise control: three key factors you can’t afford to ignore

You’d be surprised, but even low-level commercial and industrial noise can impact on wellbeing and efficiency over time.

According to the Environment Agency’s Horizontal Guidance for Noise, noise can have a behavioural and physiological impact on people. Speech and sleep disturbance are some of the behavioural responses to environmental noise, while hearing loss and stress are among the physiological symptoms.

Here are three key factors you need to consider in order to control noise efficiently, and to comply with BS 4142:1997.

1. What’s the noise limit?

Every organisation should have noise limits in place to ensure the wellbeing of staff. Occupational exposure risk to noise is covered by the Noise at Work Regulations 1989. Generally, the HSE regulates noise in factories and industrial installations and the local authority regulates offices, warehouses, retail and leisure premises.

2. How much control do you need?

Calculate or measure the sound pressure level close to the source. There are two ways you can do this:

1. If the barrier has removed the noise completely from the line of sight then a reduction of 10dB is a reasonable estimate to work with.

2. If the source is only half obscured then the reduction is 5dB. The maximum attenuation that can be absorbed by a barrier is 20dB.

3. Do your barriers offer sufficient protection/reduction?

According to the Environment Agency, noise can be reduced by around 20dBA by silencing openings and doors.

- Are your doors fitted properly?

- Do the door locks and latches work properly?

- Have your door closers been fitted correctly so that they control the doorset to keep the door shut completely? For example, if fire seals are fitted on the door you need a slightly bigger closer to compensate.

- Does the door blank compensate the wall structure?

Do you want to find out more about the noise control options available to you or how door closers can help you control noise efficiently? Call us on 01246 261491 or email

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