Workplace Noise: Are You Preventing Permanent Hearing Loss?

Thursday November 1, 2018 05:52

None of us want to lose our hearing, yet that can be what happens from working in a constant noisy environment.

All organisations have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure that every practical step is taken to prevent their workers from hearing loss while working.

Workers too have a responsibility to ensure that their hearing is protected from existing or potential damaging noise in the workplace.

Part of that responsibility is to advise management when the environment they are working in is noisy. 

Hearing loss is preventable.

When it comes to Noise Risks and Hazards, such noise can be from:

  • Machinery used in processing and manufacture
  • Equipment that is static or moving
  • Vehicles

It can emanate from the path the noise travels before it reaches us, or at the actual place we are working.

3 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Workers From Workplace Noise

#1. Conduct Annual Noise Monitoring Tests

A PCBU (Person Conducting a Business Unit) should be carrying out Noise Monitoring Tests to establish the risk posed by noise to their workers.

There needs to be a base line.

These tests should be carried out at least annually to check that conditions have not altered, or sooner if necessary when business operations do change. 

#2. Conduct Regular Hearing Tests

A PCBU should be conducting regular hearing tests of workers to ensure that they are not being affected by noise in the workplace.

Again a baseline should be established.

#3. Discuss Noise With Your Team

Check with your workers on a regular basis to ensure that there are no new noise issues.

Workers need to be made aware that:

  • Noise can a pose a real problem, that it can affect their hearing
  • That adequate hearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) protection is provided by the organisation where applicable
  • That the PPE is to be used

Noise Risks and Hazards is a good static subject for an organisation to have as part of regular Toolbox meetings.

These meetings can cover issues such as:

  • How to maintain or look after your PPE equipment (ear muffs)
  • How to wear the PPE correctly (there is an art to correctly fitting ear plugs in your ears!)  

A suggestion is to contact the local PPE provider to see if they could arrange to come and talk to the designated Health and Safety Co-ordinator about how to choose the correct ear muff for your workers situation.

Need Help To Reduce The Impact Of Your Workplace Noise?

Noise pollution affects us all. It is part of life - but there are legal obligations to adhere to when it is in effect inside a workplace.

If you require any assistance with your workplace noise issues (or anything else Health & Safety related), please contact your Securo consultant.

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