As legislators and regulators continue to shift their focus onto the health benefits of noise mitigation, rental firms are presented with an opportunity to expand their portfolio in a lucrative new direction.
Acoustic barriers are the latest tools in the growing space of occupational noise control, resulting from emerging awareness of the repercussions of noise exposure.
Damage inflicted by noise pollution has proved hard to gauge accurately, so we are still learning how extensive it is today. It is startling to realise that in 2010, as many as 72.6 million urban U.S. residents were exposed to enough noise to cause hearing damage, or that children can suffer long term memory loss and reading impairment as a result of exposure to noise in their learning environment.
This damage is costing businesses dearly, with an estimated $242 million spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability.
Furthermore, the threat is growing, unlike most other pollutants; between 2000 and 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss doubled, amplified by an aging population and an improved awareness of the condition. Figures like this make it easy to understand why addressing noise is the next frontier in operational and environmental health and safety, with federal organizations like NIOSH and OSHA taking action to quash its prevalence.
What Is Echo Barrier?
Echo Barrier was created to meet an increasing demand for noise and sound control across more industrial and cultural applications, helping operators and renters to effortlessly address the mounting concerns around noise exposure and hearing loss. It is a noise attenuating acoustic barrier that boasts award-winning design, and is able to reduce noise by up to 40dB.
The Echo Series acoustic barriers are by rental companies across a range of industries.
Echo Barrier was designed with adaptability and ease of use in mind, tailored specifically for projects susceptible to sudden changes. The barriers can be installed and reconfigured with ease, being provided with a purpose-designed fitting kit—the only of its kind on the market—consisting of a hook and elastic ties.
Owing to their exceptional longevity, Echo Barriers offer unrivalled return on investment.
And unlike typical sound blankets, the barriers are fully weatherproof and will never absorb water, and therefore never carry any extra weight.
Health and Safety: Protecting Workers
The risk workers are placed at in a loud commercial environment is often underestimated. Consequent injuries resulting from occupational noise exposure are not as immediate as other injuries, often resulting in delayed financial repercussions to the liable entity.
Operational health and safety is at the core of what Echo Barrier stands for. It is conservatively estimated that a contractor saves $100 for each dBA of difference between loud machinery or equipment and their quieter alternatives, saving on audiometric testing and worker compensation.
Extend this benefit to the use of Echo Barrier products, which can reduce the impact of loud equipment on isolated activities and across an entire on a site. This application of noise control can also extend working hours, stop site shutdowns because of noise, and reduce the likelihood of site accidents due to distraction.
Health and safety: Protecting the community
The benefits of applying noise mitigation measures like Echo Barrier go beyond the protection of just the workforce. The sound absorption properties of the barriers ensure the reduction of offensive noise beyond the limits of a site, minimizing health risks to the public.
Furthermore, Echo Barrier is successful where community relations are concerned; the brand communicates a message of active engagement in addressing environmental and public safety.
Most similar products don’t go to the effort of making their function known to people in the vicinity of a site, whereas the branding and aesthetic of the Echo Barrier is a key feature of its efficacy. By emphasizing the importance of informing the public of the barriers’ function, better relations are maintained between all parties involved in the project.
It is in the commercial interest of anyone operating under public scrutiny to not only make an effort to mitigate noise, but also to assure and demonstrate to the general public that those efforts are being actively made.
A sound investment strategy
Echo Barrier has proven time and time again to be a successful addition to rental companies’ inventories all over the world.
A positive ROI can be attained quickly with Echo Barrier products, with suppliers able to see their initial expenditure back generally within 20-25 weeks.
Considering the barriers’ exceptional durability and weatherproof properties—extending their lifespan to as long as 5 years with proper storage and use—Echo Barrier’s profitability is clear-cut.
Its function as a communicative tool may help deadlines be met and assist with smoother completion of a project, eliminating complaints and saving in operational expenses.
Requiring minimal upkeep, the barriers need only be power-washed after use. They are easy to pack down tightly by simply rolling them up and fastening them shut with the attached plastic buckle, potentially saving on storage costs also.
Effective use of Echo Barrier
Use of Echo Barrier is not limited to any specific application; in any industry that demands effective portable noise control, the barriers serve a function, be it in utilities, events, construction, roadworks, oil and gas, or rail maintenance. As such, the barriers can be easily kept in regular circulation as part of your inventory.
They are the perfect item to implement to an existing rental fleet, commonly leased or sold alongside fencing, generators, HVACs, and other noise-producing equipment you stock.
Echo Barrier can be mounted on any standard temporary fencing or scaffolding, and are made to be doubled up on their patented hooks should particularly offensive noise sources require it, diversifying the barriers’ application.
Enclosures and tents
Echo Barrier also offers products for specialized applications, including varieties of acoustic enclosures. These enclosures isolate individual activities or pieces of machinery and contain the resulting noise, be it drilling, cutting, or a problematic generator. They can be assembled using a configuration of standard barriers and purpose-made parts and barriers.
The H2O Acoustic Enclosure is an example of these range of products designed specifically to further improve operational health and safety for workers on sites. The enclosure is constructed by mounting specially designed Echo Barriers onto a sturdy purpose-built lightweight aluminium frame, which is mounted with wheels for easy adjustment and mobility, and sealed overhead with a heavy-duty PVC roof.
The Genset sound enclosure was developed as a solution to noisy generators complicating procedures at events and on work sites, keeping them out of earshot and out of mind.
Designed to allow cutting operations to be conducted close to a worksite, the Echo Barrier CS keeps flying debris from dispersing across a work site, and is popularly used by rental companies to supply to contractors undertaking noisy tasks involving excessive debris, like cutting timber, concrete, and metal. It is built with unique panels that both absorb noise and allow cooling at the same time, while offering supervision of operations through transparently sealed cutouts in the barriers. Like all Echo Barrier products, cutting station is designed to be assembled and deployed rapidly, and has a certified resistance to fire.
Opportune use of the barriers also includes events, where time is of the essence in setting up and packing down at the location, and sound is a facet that demands a high degree of not just mitigation, but also control.
Massive temporary sound walls can be constructed using the barriers to screen big stages for nearby communities. The Echo Barrier range of enclosures help further isolate other equipment commonly used in events, like generators and HVACs, which can disrupt the front-of-house sound.
At large events, medical tents are often required to manage injuries and incidents. However, medical staff are sometimes exposed to very high noise levels for hours on end, placing them at high risk of hearing damage among the other consequences of noise exposure. Echo Barrier eliminates this risk with its acoustic enclosures able to serve as medical tents, mitigating incessant noise and protecting the staff and patients within.
The modular application of Echo Barrier noise control system allows the end user to think as small or as large as they please in their application of the barriers.
History of noise mitigation and advances
Echo Barrier represents the forefront of combating noise and its repercussions in occupational settings. However, its design stems from a long history of people trying to put a lid on the surge of noise pollution.
Noise control is a necessary result of massive urbanization and population growth, forming an intolerance of noise by the public. In the U.S., the population in urban areas grew from under 10% of the nation in 1830 to over 80% in 2010.
Fixed features were used to combat pervasive noise, even where a site might only be active for a matter of weeks, but the process is expensive, and painstakingly time-consuming.
Given that agencies NIOSH and OSHA now emphasize the importance of noise as a safety hazard and enforce firmer regulations, logistical difficulties began to arise, and noise control was expensive to implement.
The Operational Safety and Health Association considers noise a substantial health risk.
Echo Barrier was developed out of the need for a product that addressed all the points that made temporary noise control difficult.
With regulations, realistic budgets and deadlines all needing to be met at once, these products simplify tackling this growing concern in operational and environmental health and safety.
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