Firms must put noise control on the agenda

Bureau Veritas urges manufacturing companies to review their noise control procedures to ensure they are fully compliant to Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (CoNAWR).

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers’ health and provide them with information and training is now 80 decibels (dB), and they must provide hearing protection when noise levels reach 85dB. There is also an exposure limit value of 87dB, taking account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection, above which workers must not be exposed.

A requirement of CoNAWR is that wherever possible, noise should be eliminated or reduced to as low as reasonably practicable. The responsibility is first on the business to achieve this by putting procedures in place to reduce noise, with personal protective equipment, such as earplugs and ear defenders, a secondary measure only.

“The HSE has strict guidelines to ensure employees are only subject to a level of noise that’s not damaging to their health. Noise and vibration within the working environment can affect the health of individuals, such as causing medical problems and even reducing productivity,” said Paul Johnson, Senior Consultant – Acoustics and Vibration, Bureau Veritas. “Manufacturing firms must also consider noise and vibration where they are operating. In the event a new manufacturing plant is built or new equipment brough in, firms should also undertake a noise assessment as part of license permit or planning applications.”




he world of robotic automation is looking more exciting all the time, with new options and developments in robot technology such as our GoFa and

SWIFTI cobots and Wizard Easy Programming software making it easier than ever to grow your productivity and competitiveness with robots.

To help you take your first step, here’s a brief set of guidelines covering some important factors to consider: 1. Where could a robot be beneficial?

A good place to start is to observe the most time-consuming jobs where employees are required to do mundane and repetitive tasks. Those involving simple but repetitive movements and low critical thinking are ideal for a robot, presenting scope for you to redirect your skilled employees towards more rewarding tasks that make better use of their decision-making skills.

Once you have identified the existing application needs, it’s important to understand what the future of your company’s automation process might look like. Do you have more than one task that requires automation? Or will an increase in the workload require more robots in the future? If so, then you should design your application in a way to accommodate multiple robots. 2. Set the right expectations

Once you have decided which tasks need to be automated, you need to define exactly what you want the robot to do. Questions to ask include which tasks are suitable for a robot, how to get started with the first robot application and then gradually increase complexity. While some upfront time and resources will be needed to implement your first robot application, the experience gained should ensure that subsequent projects take less time. 3. Assess the potential risks in your application With their ability to work alongside people, cobots provide an ideal solution for boosting worker productivity. Despite their extensive built-in safety features, cobots should still be subjected to a risk assessment which will highlight the necessary steps required to ensure a safe environment for human and cobots to work side by side. Coupled with developments in software that are making them easier than ever to program and use, robots of all sizes and capabilities are already helping companies get more from both their production lines and their people. To find out what robots can do for you, visit

Nigel Platt, LBL Manager, UK and Ireland, ABB Robotics      

Automation | June 2021


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