Workplaces come with many inherent hazards that can be dangerous if not addressed. Noise is one of these hazards, and it plays a vital role in workplace safety. OSHA regulations and even employee happiness dictate the need for a quieter, less stressful workplace, so it is important to understand when a noise-reducing caster wheel is the right choice – and how to implement it into your facility.

OSHA Sound Levels

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration, or OSHA, sets guidelines for acceptable safety practices in the workplace. As part of this, the OSHA Sound Levels guide lines out levels of acceptable noise exposure. Science has shown that noise, loud sounds, and even vibration can cause permanent damage to eardrums over time, and for this reason, employees are required to adhere to guidelines to keep their employees safe. For general industry, OSHA limits exposure to 85 decibels over an eight-hour day. In construction, this limit is raised to 90 decibels.

Signs that Noise May be a Problem

Of course, it is possible that noise may be creating a safety, productivity, or employee satisfaction issue, even if levels are within the recommended OSHA guidelines. Some signs that noise is a problem in your facility include:

  • Employees are reporting ringing in their ears after leaving the workplace for the day;
  • Employees and supervisors are shouting to others, even though they are within a couple feet of one another; and
  • Individuals in the workplace are experiencing temporary hearing loss, or a feeling that there is something lodged inside the ears preventing vibrations from reaching the eardrums.

Why Caster Wheels can Help

When it comes to reducing noise, caster wheels may be the last thing on a facility owner or manager’s mind. However, it stands to reason that if there are a dozen carts and racks moving at all times, and each of these is quite noisy as it rolls across the floor, they are each contributing to the number of decibels allowed by OSHA and perhaps even the symptoms listed above. Swapping caster wheels to more noise-efficient models can significantly improve the noise in a workplace, thus improving employee happiness and reducing the risk of long-term injury.

What to Do

One of the best ways to determine just how much your casters are adding to the noise problem involves using a decibel meter as you move a cart across a floor surface. This can tell you exactly how much noise that particular cart makes. Then, when you think about all the carts in the facility and their contribution, it becomes plain to see why noise-reducing casters are so very important. The fortunate thing is that you can find noise-reducing casters of all types, whether you want a drive caster, an ergonomic caster, or a shock-absorbing caster – or even a combination of these.

Workplace noise is problematic, and if it isn’t addressed properly, it can lead to fines from OSHA as well as disgruntled employees. Using noise-reducing casters is a great idea because it can save you money, improve employee satisfaction, and make the workplace a happier, more productive place to be.