Plant Noise Survey

In addition to the objectives previously mentioned, a noise survey can be conducted to define a baseline for noise-level analysis. Planning for a noise survey includes:

Determining the type of acoustical data and time of day measurements are to be taken Determining the sampling locations and the significant sound sources

Using a map to identify significant topographical features and other structures and sound barriers Considering the effect of meterological conditions, such as temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction on noise levels Mapping significant information such as residential, commercial, or industrial zones; population densities; special areas (hospitals); and areas of unique noise characteristics

Figure 6.5.2 shows a map of a region surrounding a source with lines of constant noise levels (isopleths). These isopleths illustrate the impact of a noise source on an area. From this map, a planner can determine the size of buffer zone needed to reduce the noise source impact on the community. Also, a planner can assess the environmental impact of barriers and other noise reduction techniques.

The following guidelines outline how to conduct a plant noise survey:

Review the working area situation thoroughly; the type of sound fields, the number of people affected, and their locations.

Determine which machine generates the most sound and find its true sound level. Run the survey under time variations as well as normal plant operations. Note that a change in humidity or outside interference can alter results. Select sound measuring devices carefully, giving particular attention to the types of microphones necessary. Be familiar with the sound measuring equipment before testing. Make sure it is correctly calibrated. Set up the measuring devices properly and have no interferences to testing conditions, if possible. Note that the microphone must be mounted on a tripod at the same height as the worker's ear. Make sure that all equipment aiding in measuring—the meter, recorder, and correcting apparatus—is outside the testing area.

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