How the right forklifts can help to control workplace noise

Noise protection at work is vital, especially when machinery is in use.

While our ears can usually handle around 70 decibels¹ of noise, levels higher than this can be damaging to health and lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

Long or repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can be particularly harmful, whether this is in a warehouse, factory, office or at home. And this damage can happen when people are exposed even just one time to an intense sound, such as an explosion, or from continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period, including in busy industrial environments.

Workplace responsibilities

Every workplace should be playing its part to reduce loud sounds. Under EU legislation² employers are obliged to assess and measure the levels of exposure to noise that workers are exposed to.

This includes carrying out a risk assessment and keeping it up to date on a regular basis, with details of the level, type and duration of sounds and any exposure to noise beyond normal working hours that the employer is responsible for.

Noise-minimising forklifts

Because prevention is always better than cure, the first, and most important, step every business is expected to take is to prevent or reduce noise.

By lowering noise levels, employers can help to prevent workplace-related hearing loss and the lost working days and costs associated with this.

It is worth knowing that Cesab forklifts operate within safe levels, many of these at between 60 and 70 decibels. There are also options on Cesab warehouse equipment to ensure these trucks operate at less than 60 decibels, which is ideal in locations where noise must be kept to a minimum, such as early morning and night-time retail deliveries.

Importantly, all Cesab trucks operate at under 80 decibels, helping to minimise excessive noise in every workplace they are used. This means they can be used throughout shifts, with no restrictions on length of use, unlike other machines that can only be used at selected intervals if they exceed the threshold of 83-85 decibels.

forklifts noise control



Where any exposure to noise cannot be reduced, employers must provide properly fitting personal protective equipment³, including hearing protectors, in accordance with Directive 89/656/EEC.

All personal protective equipment must be appropriate for the risks involved, suit the existing conditions at the workplace and fit wearers correctly after any necessary adjustment.

Employers are also expected to make sure that workers exposed to risks from noise at work receive all the necessary information and training they need, in line with the risk assessment that should have been carried out.