Whole-Body Vibration and Noise Assessments for Coca Cola
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd employs over 4,000 people in sites,
depots and offices all over the UK. The company is responsible for
manufacturing and distributing a wide range of different drinks
products to customers throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The
Regional Service Centre in Northampton is the largest stand-alone
warehouse in the Coca-Cola GB network. It occupies 250,000
ft2 , holds over 300 different products and has the
capacity to store 24,500 pallets.
The company wanted to check its compliance with the requirements
of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) and the
Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) with regard to forklift
truck drivers, break bulk pickers and workshop engineers working at
the Regional Service Centre. The regulations are designed to
prevent the health risks associated with occupational exposure to
whole-body vibration and noise in the workplace, i.e. back pain and
hearing loss respectively.
What We Did
HSL worked in partnership with Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd to
provide robust data in the form of estimated exposure values for
whole-body vibration and noise. Noise levels and whole-body vibration magnitudes
were measured on-site under typical working conditions using a
range of portable equipment, including dosemeters, a sound level
meter with frequency analysis, and a hand-held vibration meter.
Additional measurements were also made to establish environmental
noise levels at the site boundary. The data obtained was used with
information on typical shift and break patterns provided by the
company. The exposure estimates were compared with exposure action
and limit values defined in the Regulations to determine what
specific duties applied to Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd with respect
to the control of whole-body vibration and noise.
Following the HSL assessment, the company issued new hearing
protection (using a type that did not overprotect users) and also
replaced existing forklift seats with new suspension seats. Several
months later, the company requested additional measurements to
investigate how effective these new seats had been in reducing the
forklift truck drivers' whole-body vibration exposures. The HSL
results showed that the new seats had contributed to a reduction in
whole-body vibration exposure, and that effective training was
needed to enable drivers to adjust the new seats correctly.
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd were very pleased with the work.
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