What is noise pollution and how do you prevent it?

A healthy and safe working climate for employees and an optimal living climate for local residents: it’s so much easier to achieve than you think! By controlling noise on your construction site, you respond to the wishes of all those involved. You maximise living enjoyment for local residents and minimise hearing damage to employees on the construction site. Read here about how you can easily reduce noise by 17 dB(A)* and thus prevent direct noise pollution.

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What is noise pollution on the construction site?

The perception of noise pollution is personal and varies greatly from person to person. While one person gets tinnitus from a mobile phone, another’s ears are only impacted when using a generator. I’m just saying. Fortunately, there are laws and regulations to prevent discussions about noise pollution with clear rules. Rightly so, because despite all the rules and research, complaints and claims about noise pollution appear to be commonplace. It’s definitely an underestimated problem.

Noise pollution complaints

In addition to relatively direct complaints from employees or local residents, such as irritation, hearing damage, and cardiac/arrhythmia disorders, the effects of long-term exposure to sound or noise pollution can be quite significant, both physically and mentally. Indirect consequences for employers in the construction industry are an ever-increasing rate of absenteeism due to illness.

Decibel as an indicator

A decibel – dB(A) – is a measurement unit to indicate how loud a sound is. Noise can cause hearing damage starting at 80 dB(A) and up. Even noise levels above 60 dB(A) are apparently already harmful. The greatest amount of noise pollution is caused by pile driving, drilling, and construction transport on and around the construction site. The risk limit is set at 80 dB(A), but beware: every additional dB(A) has major direct health risks.

How do you prevent noise pollution?

It is simply not always possible to prevent noise pollution on a construction site. Reducing or muffling noise offers immediate and measurable results.

Below are two ways to effectively reduce noise.

#1: personal hearing protection

Employers in the construction industry are obliged to ensure healthy and safe working conditions. They must provide their employees with personal protective equipment, such as safe clothing, footwear, and head and hearing protection.

Construction workers regularly have to deal with noise pollution caused by rattling machines or tools. When that noise exceeds 80 dB(A), it can cause hearing damage and the employer must provide ear plugs or earmuffs for hearing protection. Unfortunately, it appears that these are not structurally supported in practice. In addition, earplugs prevent other alarming sounds from being heard, which can lead to accidents.

In short, personal hearing protection is a great way to muffle noise for employees individually. The disadvantages, however, are that local residents derive absolutely no benefit from this and the use of earplugs is not pursued consistently.

#2: acoustic barrier

It is even better to directly shield the machines on the site with a Noise Control Barrier fence. A Noise Control Barrier fence lets you minimise noise pollution directly at the source. You can hire or buy these fences to reduce the noise on the construction site. This not only reduces inconvenience for local residents, but also for guests and employees.

A fence full of opportunities

The Noise Control Barrier is fitted with a padded sound-proofing tarpaulin that guarantees a reduction of the volume of sound by an average of 17 dB(A) and thus ensures a better position in calls for (MEAT) bids. Moreover, you will use jackhammers, generators, and other tools earlier and longer on the construction site. Add to this the fact that by using a Noise Control Barrier fence, you easily meet the requirements for obtaining a permit, preventing absenteeism due to illness, or can create low-noise sections where necessary.


Noise Control Barrier fences are equipped with a quilted tarpaulin that absorbs sound and thus prevents it from being reflected. Install these fences directly around equipment such as generators, jackhammers, and pump units. The quilted tarpaulin is fire-retardant (DIN4102 B1) and can be installed close to heat sources. In addition, these fences can be quickly assembled by one person and can easily be connected to other fences.

Both the provision of hearing protection and the installation of sound-proof fences are ways to limit noise quickly and effectively. You must respond to the wishes of your employees and local residents and advocate for sound-proofing products. This is how you can contribute to reducing noise pollution in our society and that’s guaranteed to be appreciated!

* if applied according to the directives, a noise reduction of 17 dB is guaranteed.

Topics: ProjectbeveiligingVeilig & duurzaam werken,

Posted by Yves Spooren on 21 May 2019
Accountmanager at Heras Mobile Fencing & Security België