For a large number of busy workshops and other noisy workplaces, there is a need to ensure that employees are adequately protected from the risk of hearing loss.
Employers should be supplying appropriate PPE to be worn by all employees, or if the employee purchases this, then they should be reimbursed for these items.
In addition to the requirement for appropriate PPE, it is also a requirement under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (SA) that employees who are frequently required to use PPE to protect them from hearing loss undergo audio testing for early detection of damage:
An employee who falls in to this category will be required to get this testing done within the first three months of their employment and then at least every two years thereafter.
Where the level of noise is assessed to be high (equal to or greater than 100 decibels), more frequent audiometric testing may be necessary.
Conducting a risk assessment of the workplace to determine the likelihood of risk in regards to hearing loss isn’t by itself a requirement; however, this can be a useful thing for an employer to undertake.
In regards to the level of risk, below is an example of the amount of time a person can be subjected to various noise levels without protection and also an example of the types of noise that would create various noise levels as per the Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work Code of Practice by Safe Work Australia:
Failure to comply with a mandatory hearing test could result in fines being issued to a business and also increase the risk of hearing loss occurring for staff and therefore possible WorkCover claims.
Due to the need for testing being a requirement under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (SA) an employer should be organising these tests and paying for them.
If you would like further information on this or other Work Health and Safety issues then please contact the WR Team on