BUILDING FOR WELLBEING
Building for Wellbeing • BuildingProducts.co.uk 25
Employees are often working in
environments containing heavy machinery
or dangerous equipment so reducing noise
levels is incredibly important in order to meet
health and safety requirements.
If a warehouse has not been treated and
employees are having to wear ear defenders to
block out excess noise caused by machinery,
they are less likely to hear instructions,
warnings or oncoming machinery, thus
increasing the risk of a serious accident.
Effective acoustic control for warehouses,
factories or ‘big sheds’ can be made simple
and economical by using spray-applied
acoustic decorative finishes on ceilings and/
or walls at high level at a calculated material
depth. This also has the benefit of increasing
the thermal performance of the building.
Reducing noise in hospitality When you
are eating in a noisy restaurant, or drinking in
a busy bar, you speak up in order to be heard
by the staff and the people you are with.
The problem is that everyone does
this, and before you know it, the venue is
uncomfortably loud and it completely spoils
the atmosphere and experience.
According to Action on Hearing Loss, 79%
of people have experienced difficulty holding
a conversation while eating out, while 91%
said they would not return to venues where
noise levels were too high. The charity also
found that some restaurants in the UK have
noise levels above 95 decibels.
Gail Richard, past president of the
Association says that exposure to noise levels
above 70 and 80 decibels causes hearing loss
And with nearly 3 million of us working in
the hospitality sector in the UK, it’s a serious
workplace issue. However there are solutions
out there that can improve the experience for
both diners and for staff.
The Evening Standard reports that
designers are focussing on techniques such
as cushioning the ceiling or using absorbent
materials such as cedar, so restaurants can
maintain a buzzy atmosphere while enabling
Restaurants such as Ottolenghi’s Nopi
(pictured above) or HIDE, both near
Piccadilly, have used a specially designed
absorbent plaster-like product on their ceilings
to absorb what would be reflected sound.
As a result of tackling the acoustics
challenge head on, these restaurants offer a
more comfortable dining experience but more
importantly are protecting the health and
wellbeing of their workers.
Turning down the noise
With the rise in open plan offices and
increasingly mechanised production
lines/distribution centres, employers are
increasingly looking at acoustic design to keep
their people safe and increase productivity.
However, there are still companies that are
unaware of the dangers that noisy workplaces
can have on their employees while also being
unaware of the potential impact on their
Employers have a legal obligation to
protect their workers and could be lining
themselves up for potential future claims if
they do not take the issue seriously.
We are making progress but there is still
a lot of education required. The more that
people are aware of the impacts of excess
noise on their workforce, the more likely they
will be to shift habits. It’s time to turn down
Noise is a serious workplace issue in
the hospitality sector, as well as in
warehouses, factories and offices