23 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Filtering out the noise

Garages can be noisy places. The sound of engines, tools, and people working can be deafening at times, and the noise can cause hearing damage if you are not careful, especially for those working long hours in the workshop. Here are some noise cancellation tips to help reduce the effects of workshop noise and create a healthier environment for you, your team, and your customers.
    
Foam panels are a great way to reduce the overall noise in an auto shop. Foam panels absorb the sound and can help keep the noise levels down significantly. You can find a reputable business to install foam panels along shop walls where possible – the more locations you can install them, the more sound they will absorb. Foam panels are also an excellent option for your reception to minimise the noise that travels from the workshop and ensure you can clearly communicate with customers. You can find foam panels that look nice, much like decor, to add to the aesthetic of your customer waiting area.

Stand on rubberised flooring
Another way to reduce noise in an auto shop is to ensure your workers stand on rubberised flooring. Rubber flooring material helps deaden the sound of your footsteps and reduces the overall noise level in the shop. While it might not be possible to install wall-to-wall rubber floors, you can use rubber floor mats at service stations to reduce the sound. Rubber mats also add more cushion beneath your workers to soften the weight they put on their joints, especially when standing for long hours.

Use noise canceling headphones or earplugs
If you are working in an garage for long periods, consider investing in noise-cancellation devices, like headphones or earplugs. Noise cancellation devices allow you to hear any important announcements or questions but noticeably reduce the overall noise level.  Noise-canceling headphones can also help reduce distractions and allow you to focus more on your work. Plus, who doesn’t love getting to listen to music while you work? Some headphones can hook up to phones or other devices via Bluetooth to add an element of entertainment to the sound reduction.

Upgrade old windows
Want to minimise the effects of auto shop noise for your workers? Upgrade the windows. Windows that are old or not properly installed can let additional noise in that adds to the cacophony of sounds. Replacing the windows with double-paned, soundproof windows can help reduce the amount of noise that comes into the garage.
    
You may also want to consider adding soft textiles window treatments like curtains to absorb even more sound. Upgrading your windows can be an expensive task, but it’s a worthwhile investment for your shop and employees. If you can afford the new windows, you’ll notice a big improvement in sound.

Apply soundproof blankets
Soundproof blankets are a great way to help reduce the noise in an auto shop. You can hang them on walls or doors to help absorb sound and keep it from bouncing around the room. Soundproof blankets come in many sizes, so you can find ones that fit your needs and budget.
    
Soundproof blankets are also a good option for covering up tools or other equipment (as long as it’s safe) that create a lot of noise. By covering the tool, you can help muffle the sound it makes and make it more bearable for those working nearby.

Require protection for certain tools
Some tools in garages can create a lot of noise, even when they are being used correctly. To help reduce the noise levels in your workshop, you may want to require that workers use hearing protection when using certain tools. Designated hearing protection tools could include earplugs or earmuffs that fit over the ears.
    
Hearing protection is crucial for all workers, but it is especially important for those that are going to be using noisy tools for many hours. By requiring hearing protection, you can help reduce the overall noise in your workshop and protect the hearing of your staff. While you might not want to be the enforcer of such new policies, explaining to your team that it’s for their benefit to protect their health will help your employees implement these changes seamlessly. Most workers will recognise the true intention of the new rules and adhere to the guidelines not only to obey their employer but also because they want to protect their hearing for the long term.

Use a decibel meter to measure damaging noise
Noise levels in a garage can vary depending on what is going on. To get an accurate measurement of the noise levels, you’ll need to use a decibel meter. A decibel meter measures the sound pressure level and can tell you how loud the noise is.  You can use a decibel meter to find out if the noise levels in your workshop are too high and if so, take steps to reduce the noise. Many decibel meters come with a ‘hold’ function that allows you to get an accurate reading even if the noise level fluctuates.
    
Noise levels in an garage should be kept below 80-85 decibels (dB) to protect workers’ hearing. If the noise level is consistently above 85 decibels, you’ll need to take steps to reduce it. In the U.S.A, the CDC has reported that any noise over 70 dB over a long time can create hearing damage, but some tools and machines used in garages are naturally louder than that. Noises over 120 dB can cause immediate harm, so use your decibel meter to ensure nothing reaches that point.

Final thoughts: Keeping quiet for hearing health
There are several ways to reduce the noise in a garage. By taking some noise cancellation steps like the ones listed here, you can make a big difference in the noise level and create a more pleasant working environment for your team. You’ll also protect their hearing health long-term, which they’ll be grateful for.
    
For more information, visit: www.plant-tours.com