The Model Code of Practice Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work applies to all types of work and workplaces in WA covered by the OHS Act 1984 and the OHS Regulations 1996.
More specifically, the code of practice “managing noise…” is for workplaces where there is the potential for exposure to noise that can contribute to hearing loss. The Code has been developed to provide practical guidance to managers/persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) on:
- how noise affects hearing
- how to identify and assess exposure to noise and
- how to control health and safety risks arising from hazardous noise.
Audiometric testing requirements for WA
Unlike the WHS regulations referred to in the Code Practice, audiometric testing in WA is governed by the OHS regulations and Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. This states that audiometric testing must be provided within 12 months of the worker commencing work in WA, regardless of whether the worker is wearing hearing protection.
This hearing test is known as a WorkCover baseline hearing test ; often referred to as a “baseline audio”.
Under the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, it is compulsory for employers to arrange and pay for WorkCover WA hearing tests for all workers in prescribed “noisy” workplaces. WorkCover WA is the government agency that is responsible for overseeing the workers compensation and injury management system in WA.
Starting the audiometric testing before people are exposed to hazardous noise (such as new starters or those changing jobs) provides a baseline as a reference for future audiometric test results.
Annual testing is recommended in the Code of Practice, however more frequent audiometric testing (e.g. every six months) may be needed if exposures are at a high LAeq,8h, which is equal or greater than 100 dB(A).
Before introducing an audiometric testing program, you must consult with your workers and their health and safety representatives. It is important that your workers understand that the aim of the testing is to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures to protect their hearing.
Audiometric testing and assessment of audiograms should be carried out by competent persons in accordance with the procedures in AS/NZS 1269.4:2005 – Occupational noise management – Auditory assessment.
CHP’s audiometric testing and noise assessment services meet all of these requirements.