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OH&S Assessments

OH & S Assessments"Noise induced hearing loss is permanent, measurable and costly but also preventable"

Is noise a factor in your workplace?

Whether it is prevention, management or rehabilitation  if noise is a hazard in your workplace, Arafura Audiology can help you with our comprehensive range of specialist hearing and noise solutions.

 


Most workplaces expose us to noise. The louder the noise, the more damage it can cause. Noise and vibration can cause long-term damage to our senses. Hearing and touch can be severely affected by exposure to excess levels of noise and vibration. If people are having difficulty hearing what others say, or have to shout to be understood at a distance of one metre, noise levels are likely to be damaging.

 

Workplace noise increases risks of hearing loss and other medical problems

Daily exposure to excessive noise in the workplace is the primary factor in many cases of hearing loss in the working population, with more men than women being affected.

Noise exposure has also been known to induce tinnitus, hypertension, vasoconstriction and other cardiovascular impacts - with studies revealing that noisy workplaces more than double the risk of heart disease. Beyond these effects, elevated noise levels can create stress, increase workplace accident rates, and stimulate aggression and other anti-social behaviors.

 

Quick test to see if noise is a factor in your workplace

 

  • Are there areas in your workplace that you or your staff think are noisy?
  • Are there areas where you must raise your voice in order to be heard?
  • Are noise levels as loud, or louder, than heavy traffic?
  • Do any employees complain of ringing in the ears or dull hearing?
  • Do any employees complain of headache, lack of concentration or irritability during or after work?
  • Do long term employees seem to have difficulty hearing?

 

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, risks from exposure to noise may exist in your workplace.

 

What are the risks?

Given the potential effects that hearing loss can have on the health and well being of employees, noise and noise induced hearing loss pose significant risks for employers. Other than the moral responsibility to provide a safe working environment, other risks include:

  1. Reduced productivity
  2. Legal responsibilities
  3. Damages and workers compensation
  4. Increased insurance premiums
  5. Risk of workplace accidents

Reduced productivity


In 2006, a report sponsored by the Federal Government has estimated the cost of hearing loss to Australia at over $11 billion per annum. This enquiry into Hearing Health in Australia concluded that the largest element of this cost, at over half the total, was lost wages and productivity among people with a hearing loss. The value to the nation of retaining or re-engaging people with a hearing loss in the workplace is thus huge.

For employers, the loss of workers from the workforce of long term sickness leave can lead to major losses in productivity. As discussed earlier, this leave will not just be associated with hearing loss but the full range of health and social effects of noisy workplaces (e.g. hypertension, cardiovascular impacts, stress, accidents etc).

 

Legal requirements of employers

People who are responsible under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 to protect workers and the public from death, injury or illness caused or created by workplaces, workplace activities or specified high risk plant include:

  • Employers, self-employed persons, principle contractors and workers
  • People conducting a business, undertaking or in control of fixtures, fittings or plant and equipment in workplaces
  • Designers, manufactures, suppliers and those who install or erect plant and equipment and those who own specified high risk plant and equipment

Part 12 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 states that the employer must prevent risks to the health and safety of workers from exposure to excessive noise at work. Under the regulations, 'excessive noise' is a level of noise above:

  • An 8 hour equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level of 85dB(A), referenced to 20 micropascals
  • C-weighted sound pressure level of 140dB(C), referenced to 20 micropascals

In addition to these regulations, employers are also bound by the Noise Code of Practice (2004). This code of practice gives practical advice about identifying sources and levels of noise, assessing exposure to noise and eliminating or minimising noise exposure as a risk to health and safety at the workplace.


Work with experts

Arafura Audiology understand your statutory obligations and the consequences of non-compliance. We will work with you to minimise risks and ensure that you have a safe workplace.

 

Workers Compensation & damages

An obvious risk of not providing a compliant and safe workplace is that you open your organisation up to future Workers Compensation cases and damages. Hearing loss develops slowly over time. So it may be years, or even decades, before the symptoms become apparent in a worker. Naturally, not having a strong workplace safety program (including regular hearing tests) could also lead to increased insurance premiums.


Reducing your risk

Arafura Audiology works in partnership with employers and employees to provide comprehensive workplace hearing and noise solutions. Our range of solutions for workplace noise and hearing issues includes:

  • Annual noise level assessments
  • On-site audiometric testing (hearing screenings)
  • Advice on appropriate engineering controls for plant and workspace design
  • Advice on suitable administrative controls that ensure hearing is protected
  • On-site and online education and training for OHS managers and employees
  • Provision of noise protection and hearing safety literature and updates
  • Advice on and supply of hearing protection and communication devices - custom made to enhance speech whilst suppressing noise, enabling safe, clear communication in noisy environments
  • Rehabilitation

Regardless of your industry sector, Arafura Audiology can tailor a hearing solutions package to meet your needs.

Call us on (08) 8981 0013 to discuss how we can assist your organisation.

 

Editing of website provided by Arafura Audiology