To understand just how significant the issue of noise-induced hearing loss is within Australia, one only needs to look at the huge number of noise related hearing loss claims that are lodged on an annual basis. As it stands, approximately 4700 work related claims are lodged every year, and considering that employers have an obligation to take action to minimise workplace noise, ensuring that it does not exceed regulatory levels, that number is way too high. As different workplaces may be exposed to excessive noises in various ways, it is important that employers approach the issue of developing noise control practices in a methodical manner. By undergoing regular onsite audiometric testing of their premises, companies can work at developing effective noise control practices, ensuring that employees are not harmed, and overall, develop a safer work environment. This article will discuss what employers should be doing to mitigate onsite noise risks.
What business’ should be doing to control worksite noise
Many business’ may be wondering whether their worksites would be at risk of excessive noises, and unsure whether they should undergo a noise assessment and audiometric testing service of their site and staff. Although business’ operating in particular industries, such as manufacturing, transport, and construction, will be at a higher risk of dangerous noise exposure, all business’ should consider undergoing audiometric and noise testing of their premises, to work at both identifying easy to overlook noise risks, and ensure that all noises the site is exposed to does not exceed compliant levels.
According to workplace regulatory body Safe Work Australia, between twenty-eight to thirty-two per cent of Australian workers are likely operating in a workplace environment where they are exposed to loud noises. Further, prolonged exposure to loud workplace noises can result in several health risks, including loss of hearing or tinnitus, which is where people constantly ‘hear’ a ringing in their ears.
In accordance with existing Work Health and Safety Regulations, companies have several obligations when it comes to controlling workplace noise exposure, including ensuring their workplaces have adequate noise control measures, and that potential noise hazards are identified and adequately addressed.
Business’ should have both audiometric testing services and a noise assessment conducted on their premises. This will help them achieve several goals, including:
- Ascertain if any staff are exposed to dangerous noise levels. If it is found that they are, the business can then take appropriate counter measures to work at mitigating the risks, and ensuring their premises stays compliant.
- Audiometric testing of staff across periodic intervals allows business’ to assess whether hearing loss has occurred over time, and take appropriate action to ensure excessive noises are minimised.
- Establish what is causing the dangerous noise levels. Is it loud machinery, equipment, or something else the business works with? If so, the business can then take corrective action to work towards minimising the noise levels, and if the noise is caused from other nearby sources, business’ should establish what other noise control actions they could be taking to keep their staff safe.
- Establishing monitoring and auditing processes to ensure that noise levels not only reach compliance levels, but they manage to stay there. This will help the business stay compliant and ensure that it is fostering a safe working culture.
Noise Assessments and Audiometric Testing keeps business’ compliant, and costs down
By undergoing a noise assessment and audiometric test of your worksite, your business is displaying a commitment to the safety of its staff, compliance to its regulatory obligations, and upholding its reputation as a safe company to work with.
However, it can be a challenge for business’ to stay on top of their compliance obligations, especially when different industries may have different requirements, and various states and territories also have different worksite compliance requirements. Currently, existing workplace noise regulations has different acceptable noise levels, that are dependant on the hours worked. For example, staff must not be exposed to noise exceeding 85 decibels across a standard eight-hour work shift, and they must not be exposed to noise levels exceeding 88 decibels across a four-hour shift.
To best ensure that noises across their worksites remain within compliant levels, business’ should conduct audiometric testing and noise testing across their workplace. To understand what is involved in this process, please contact Anitech’s audiometric specialists today by filling out this simple contact us form, or by phone at 1300 802 163. Give them a brief rundown of your business, including its industry, worksite details, and size, and they will be able to arrange for a team of audiometric specialists to come out to your worksite, and conduct audiometric and noise testing services across it, in COVID-Safe conditions. Doesn’t that sound like a sound idea for your business?
Please click here to read an interview with Tony, Anitech’s audiometric specialist, in which he discusses some of the rewarding aspects about working in an audiometric testing role.