You’ve heard of electric blankets but what about acoustic blankets? True, it’s not something you hear about every day of the week. However, in the safety industry, it’s important to know what these are and how they help.
The bottom line is that human hearing is vulnerable to loud noises. OSHA recommends that you keep workplace noise levels below 85 dBA during a work period of about 8 hours. To put that into perspective, conversational speech is about 65 dB.
If noise levels climb to 100 dBA then your exposure should be limited to just 15 minutes. Loud noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss, so this is an issue that deserves close attention. In this article, you will learn how acoustic blankets can make all the difference.
What Are Acoustic Blankets?
Like any blanket, it’s used to wrap around something else. In the context of noisy machinery, this blanket can be used to insulate the machine and dampen the sound energy. Think of it a little bit like a thermal jacket that you might use on a boiler.
In fact, thermal blankets or jackets can also dampen the sound produced by machinery but they’re not as effective as acoustic blankets. The key to acoustic blankets is their internal structure. Often, acoustic blankets are coated internally with barium sulfate which allows sound waves to reflect within the blanket reducing energy with each reflection.
Relationship With Safety
Do acoustic blankets make that much of a difference to loud noises? The short answer is yes! They can reduce sound by 15 dB or 30 percent.
That may not sound like a lot (excuse the pun) but it can bring the noise levels back into the safety zone of what’s acceptable. When combined with other personal safety equipment such as ear defenders the overall protection can be sufficient to meet the OSHA standards.
Besides the obvious quantitative benefits of reducing the level of noise, there are other benefits that relate to comfort and concentration in the workplace. Really, acoustic blankets and safety go hand in hand.
Another nice quality of acoustic blankets is their flexibility. They do not require any major structural changes but they can ‘fitted’ in many circumstances.
For example, you can use them on machines, on doors and walls, and even on the ceiling. Very thick blankets are also more effective for low-frequency sound which is notoriously challenging to attenuate.
In this article, you’ve read about acoustic blankets and how they can improve worker safety. The bottom line is that these are a flexible and ingenious resource that can be easily used in multiple circumstances and situations. When there is a need to reduce workplace noise they should be the first thought in bringing those noise levels down.
Protecting our hearing should be a major priority in the workplace because hearing has such a large impact on our quality of life. Safety in the workplace is at the heart of building codes so it’s no surprise that gaining an understanding of these codes is an important part of all building professions.