Health and safety is a recurring theme in MANN+HUMMEL employee surveys. Concerns about noise are especially important in production, given the loud machinery, metal parts crashing together and trucks beeping in the aisles. Listen to this audio clip: this is what it sounds like at one of our measuring points in element production in Marklkofen:
As part of a survey, we asked our employees whether they would like to receive a salary increase to compensate for the noise or would prefer to see measures introduced to reduce the noise level. The responses left no doubt: 100% of employees wanted more noise reduction measures.
We took a systematic look at the situation and analysed where employees spent most time on the production lines. We established measuring points at these locations and labelled them clearly as such. We then held workshops to discuss employees’ suggestions for reducing noise levels. Many were small, cost-effective changes that would make a noticeable improvement. Noise levels above 85 decibels (roughly the noise generated by a pneumatic hammer) can damage hearing, which is why hearing protection is recommended above 80 decibels and mandatory above 85 decibels. Using our employees’ suggestions, we have now succeeded in removing the need to wear hearing protection at all measurement points.
The employees have been very satisfied with this outcome, not only because we have reduced noise levels, but also because the measures were devised by them themselves and we took them seriously and put the ideas in place. This is very motivating. A voluntary noise level monitor now takes measurements at the approx. 40 measuring points each year. Our aim, of course, is to keep noise levels under 85 decibels, but also to keep reducing them further, because noise is detrimental to people’s sense of well-being and consequently the quality of their work.