Last week, the EXAIR Blog featured an article about the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) – Reduction of Air Pressure below 30 psi for Cleaning Purposes. This week, we will review another OSHA standard that affects many of you in manufacturing and other industries.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 – Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure discusses the effects of noise and sets limits for exposure. Occupational noise can cause hearing loss, and also interfere with concentration and communication, disrupting the job performance. Below is a summary from the standard of the Permissible Noise Exposure (OSHA Table G-16)
From the chart, the time an employee can be exposed to loud noise is greatly reduced as the sound level goes up. The use of hearing protection is helpful but relies on the operator to use consistently and correctly. Ear plugs or ear muffs can be uncomfortable and hot, leading to possible reduced usage. OSHA can come on site, and if violations to the sound level exposure limits are found, they can impose fines and mandate corrective action be taken place.
The recommended course of action when an operator is subjected to sound exceeding those in the chart above is to enable feasible administrative or engineering controls. Engineering controls is the arena in which EXAIR can be a great resource.
The first step in understanding and addressing any sound level issues is to measure the sound. The easy to use Digital Sound Meter, model 9104 shown below, allows for accurate testing of noise levels throughout the facility. Noisy areas can be quickly identified, leading to review, design and implementation of the engineering controls.
Some of the worst offenders for noise violations is compressed air usage. A prime example would be inefficient blowoffs, used for cooling, drying, or cleaning. Open pipe, copper tube or drilled pipe are a few of the common culprits. Not only do they consume excessive amounts of compressed air, they can produce noise levels above 100 dBA.
EXAIR manufactures a wide variety of engineered products that utilize compressed air and deliver it in a controlled manner. This allows for the most efficient use of compressed air and keeps the sound levels much lower than the inefficient methods. A Super Air Knife can replace a drilled pipe, reducing sound by as much as 20 dBA, while using 50-70% less compressed air. An engineered Super Air Nozzle can replace an open pipe or copper tube and reduce sound levels down to 74 dBA, and even down to 58 dBA for the smallest available nozzles.
EXAIR has been providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.
If you have questions regarding noise limits and how to solve any issue with an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.