According to Commonwealth Government statistics, the manufacturing industry stacks up as rather guilty when it comes to damaged hearing caused by industrial noise.
Without doubt, Australia is one of the pacesetters when it comes to workplace safety compared to most of the world, but we still have a long way to go to ensure the safety of all our factory staff.
If we do have a fallibility, it is probably in not recognising that factory machinery carries its own hazards; as outlined, noise is one of the dangers we tend to ignore because it is invisible.
Then there are the machines themselves. Amazing technologies which are saving us time and increasing output can be our worst enemy unless they are properly enclosed.
According to machine tool specialist Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies , herein lies the problem.
Across the nation, we tend to overlook the importance of enclosures. Enclosures have a double effect in keeping us safe from the hazards of machinery: they keep them quiet, and they keep us away from them to avoid injury.
In a recent study report, ‘Work elated noise induced hearing loss in Australia April 2006’, made by the Australian Compensation and Safety Council, it was unveiled that sound and pressure are the principle work-related causes/mechanisms of compensation claims due to loss of hearing (4340 out of 4510 claims in 2001/2, from an examination of National Data Set information).
In 2001/2002, for example, there were 4510 compensation claims due to deafness (in CPM Scope), representing 19% of all disease-related claims made, and 3.2% of the all injury plus disease related claims.
That year, the industry with the highest number of claims was manufacturing.
Within manufacturing in 2001/2, metal product manufacturing had both the highest number of claims (545) and the highest incidence rate (365/100,000).
Therefore, the average cost of workers compensation claims for deafness in 2001/2 was calculated to be $6711. In Australia, the direct cost of deafness claims for 2001/2 is calculated to be $6711 x 4510 claims i.e. just over $30 million.
That is a lot of money in one financial year to treat a specific type of injury which really is quite avoidable if managers do the right thing by staff.
Any closure of quality is made to world standards and is specifically designed to stop its machine from causing these types of injuries, therefore, taking the hazard out of the workplace and saving authorities and business owners money at the same time.
Advance Sheetmetal Technologies has enclosures made to ISO standards that can be configured to any specific footprint or machine height because every installation is likely to be a unique one.
The acoustic enclosures can also be colour matched to any brand of machinery, therefore retaining consistency of plant anaesthetics as well.
Windows are installed at strategic points to give operators good visual access to processes at all times.
For the modern manufacturing plant, these enclosures will achieve as close as possible to what is considered complete silence in this sector of manufacturing.
Although machines are now far more efficient and quieter in operation, it is the goal of production plant management to run all processes as silently as possible.
With the tough occupational health and safety laws in Australia and New Zealand, plus the added burden of compensation payouts, the soundproofing of production machinery has never been more important.
These enclosures are completely suitable for all types and sizes of punch presses, hydraulic presses and other large machines.
They integrate with the CNC system of the machinery so associated actions such as the opening of doors or the execution of a load/unload function can be automatically carried out by a control software command.