How can I choose quieter equipment and machinery?
Introducing a positive purchasing and hire policy can be the most cost-effective long-term measure you take to reduce noise at work. Choosing quieter equipment and machinery, whether it is bought or hired, from the start can save you the cost of introducing noise-reduction measures once it is installed or in use. You could do the following:
- Consider at an early stage how new or replacement machinery could reduce noise levels in the workplace - set a target to reduce the noise levels if possible.
- Ensure you specify a realistic noise output level for all new machinery, and check that tenderers and suppliers are aware of their legal duties.
- Ask the suppliers about the likely noise levels under the particular conditions in which you will operate the machinery, as well as under standard test conditions. If you ask the same question to all suppliers you can compare information. Noise output data will only ever be a guide as many factors affect the noise levels experienced by employees, but it will help you to buy quieter machines.
- Try to purchase or hire only from suppliers who can demonstrate a low-noise design, with noise control as a standard part of the machine, not as a costly optional extra.
- Keep a record of your decision process, to help show that you have met your legal duties to reduce workplace noise.
Remember to ask your supplier about:
- installation arrangements, eg methods of mounting and location, to ensure machinery operates as quietly as possible;
- anything about how the machine operates which could affect the noise it produces;
- maintenance arrangements to ensure the machine continues to operate properly and does not get louder over time.