Every day, whether at home, at work, in transport etc. … we are confronted with noise around us. Everyone is concerned by noise, especially in our professional life. Noise is an integral part of the life of workers in certain sectors such as construction, transport or industry. But what about noise in the company’s offices?

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Noise is the second most damaging environmental factor in Europe, after air pollution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

1 French person out of 2 is bothered by noise at work

With the democratization of open work spaces (open-spaces, co-working…), it is not only the construction workers who are impacted by noise but also the employees present in the offices. According to the INRS, open-space offices now represent 60% of work spaces in France.

These open-plan workplaces were created to bring employees together, promote communication and strengthen team cohesion. However, even if they are a symbol of agility and modernity, they are not unanimously accepted. The reason? The noise. Indeed, 59% of the working population declare to be annoyed by noise pollution at work every day.

What are the consequences for the health of employees?

It has been decided that the daily noise exposure level of employees must not exceed 80 dB(A) on average over 8 hours, at the risk of damaging their health.

Although it is not always possible to reach 80 decibels, or not permanently, a study conducted by Ifop and published by the Association JNA shows that noise at work remains a nuisance that can cause various disorders and pathologies, which can endanger the health of the employee, and threaten the productivity of his work.

Noise pollution can have consequences on :

  • On hearing : 

Hearing fatigue, acoustic trauma, occupational deafness

  • On the organism: 

In addition to the auditory effects, noise at work can generate anxiety/stress that affects the cardiovascular system (increased heart rate and blood pressure), the immune system, the rhythm and quality of sleep as well as psychological and behavioral balance (nervousness, aggressiveness, depression)

  • On the job: 

Noise at work decreases the quantity and quality of work done by employees. Noise makes it more difficult to concentrate, which has a negative impact on employee productivity.

In addition to decreasing concentration and cognitive performance, noise at work can cause fatigue, discomfort, nervousness, difficult inter-employee communication, which can be the source of work-related accidents.

The work environment is a subject not to be underestimated. The improvement of the working environment of employees at work makes it possible to meet the challenges of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and QWL (Quality of Life at Work), which have become key issues for any responsible employer.

The work environment is a subject not to be underestimated. The improvement of the working environment of employees at work makes it possible to meet the challenges of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and QWL (Quality of Life at Work), which have become key issues for any responsible employer.

Noise: a cost for companies?

According to a study by ADEME and the Conseil National du Bruit (CNB), the social cost of noise in France amounts to 147.1 billion euros per year.

The health costs would amount to 127.2 billion euros. Indeed, more than a quarter of the French population is directly affected each year by the harmful effects of noise on their health. Strong discomfort, sleep disorders, cardiovascular diseases, chronic diseases… all this represents a loss of 950,000 years of healthy life and health expenses related to compensation and treatment of induced pathologies (medication and hospitalization).

Beyond the effects on health, noise pollution can also have economic consequences or slow down production. We speak then of non sanitary costs.

Fatigue, lack of concentration caused by a noisy environment are reflected in losses of productivity at work, which represents a loss of earnings for companies of 15.9 billion euros.

The remaining 4 billion euros are due to :

  • Loss of property value: noise pollution in the vicinity of homes has a negative impact on the quality of life of local residents, which can result in a loss of property value due to depreciation. This cost is estimated at 2 billion euros.
  • Cross-cutting expenses for monitoring, information, studies and research in the field of noise abatement, also estimated at approximately 2 billion euros.

It is time to act!

How to measure noise at work?

We have seen that noise at work is not a factor to be minimized or underestimated. The economic and health consequences are real and important. The problem must be treated with the utmost care and involvement.

At Meersens, we propose adapted solutions, based on the regulations but also on the recommendations of the WHO, in order to improve the working environment of your stakeholders: on the level of noise obviously but also on the level of the quality of the air, the temperature, the luminosity… with the aim of improving the quality of life at work and taking care of the health of the employees.

Meersens, analyses the quality of your environment

Meersens is a positive impact environmental health company, mobilized to create a sustainable future, enabling environmental risk mitigation and positively contributing to the health and well-being of stakeholders – by providing customized environmental monitoring and prevention.

Meersens provides 360°, real-time, historical and predictive multi-pollutant monitoring and insight for any location with high accuracy, enabling you to mitigate risks and make better decisions.

Sources

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