Reasons Why Lab Noise Reduction is a Health and Safety Matter

yawnOne of our important lab safety mantras is that high noise levels in the lab can both contribute to lab safety accidents and undermine employee health.

Noisy work environments lead to increased stress levels, breakdowns in communication, and even negative impacts on cognition. If you want to promote employee health and safety, lab noise reduction is a good direction to follow.

Health Risks Associated with Workplace Noise

By now, we all know that high levels of noise have a detrimental effect on hearing—and while the noise in your lab might not be bad enough to cause hearing loss, there are other adverse health effects. For example, a study published several years ago linked noise pollution to heart disease. The researchers specifically noted increases in coronary disease and hypertension as a result of chronic exposure to higher noise levels.

Furthermore, the body responds to increased noise by releasing various stress-related hormones: cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These are proven contributors to hypertension, stroke, heart failure, and immune deficiencies. In addition to harming your lab techs, all of these employee health issues can also lead to increased sick time taken and decreased productivity in the lab.

Lab Noise Reduction Also Prevents Lab Accidents

The masking nature of noise is such that even when it’s reduced to 55 dBA (learn more about decibels here), it can still prevent you and your colleagues from understanding each other’s verbal direction. This miscommunication contributes to a greater risk for lab incidents and accidents. At least for the time being, labs don’t come with subtitles, and a misheard instruction can be deadly—especially when working with hazardous materials.

Even workers’ ability to comprehend and process daily tasks can be compromised by excessive noise. The authors of this article, the Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health, point out that studies examining road traffic and airport noise suggest high noise levels have a negative impact on cognition. The authors also mention that studies “have shown that reductions in noise exposure…are associated with improvements in cognition…” In fact, The World Health Organization Noise Guidelines suggest that background levels should not exceed 35 dbA during children’s school lessons because it limits their cognitive abilities.

Simply taking steps to reduce the noise in your lab could improve lab personnel’s ability to process information and do their job safely and efficiently.

Using Dedicated Lab Furniture for Lab Noise Reduction

One of the most effective methods of lab noise reduction is the introduction of IonBench dedicated lab furniture into your facility. One primary lab noise culprit is your mass spec vacuum pumps, and our dedicated lab furniture is designed to sequester those vacuum pump sounds within specially designed cabinets. We’re so certain of the success of our IonBench MS that we guarantee a lab noise reduction of 15 dBA from those pumps. This translates into a health-risk decrease of 10-15%.

So, taking all this information into consideration, don’t you think it would be wise to protect your employees from both the direct and indirect health hazards of excessive noise? Easy and obvious solutions are available with the IonBench MS. Request a quote from us today to learn more.