Legislation for audiometric testing in WA is governed by WorkCover, WorkSafe and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act.
Depending on your industry, legislation for audiometric testing may be governed by a specific body and Act.
1991 Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Act (WA) – governed by WorkCover WA
The WA Workers Compensation act requires audiometric testing for workers in a “prescribed” noisy (LAeq90db 8hrs) workplace. Initial (baseline) audiometric tests must be registered with WorkCover WA within 12 months of commencing work. Workers can ask for a WorkCover hearing test to be organised and paid for by their employer every year. A worker can be compensated for workplace NIHL when a hearing loss of 10% (baseline to subsequent) occurs. See more
1984 OH&S Act (Duty of Care) WA – governed by WorkSafe
WorkSafe requires employers to provide a safe workplace for their workers. Noise is regarded as a hazard when it exceeds LAeq85dB 8hrs and accordingly must be quantified with a “Noise Survey”. A noise management policy must then be adopted to address the hazards identified in the noise survey. The policy would include the hierarchy of controls to manage noise hazards (such as isolation, time restrictions and PPE) and may also include audiometric testing and surveillance. See more
Until January 2013 this legislation required all people employed in mining or mineral processing to undergo “Health Surveillance”, including audiometric testing. Although the legislation has been rescinded there remains the “duty of care” responsibility of employers to manage hearing safety and health for workers exposed to hazards in the workplace provided. There is also the continuing need for miners to meet other legislative requirements such as the audiometric testing requirements of the 1991 Workers Compensation Act. See more
The National Code of Practice for Noise Management and Protection of Hearing at Work – National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, 2004
In this Australian code of practice, occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is recognised as a major compensable industrial disease in Australia, entailing substantial economic costs. Exposure to excessive noise also involves often unrecognised costs to organisations in by way of increased employee turnover and absenteeism, lowered job performance and possible contribution to workplace accidents.
Regulation 57 states:
A person conducting a business or undertaking must manage risks to health and safety relating to hearing loss associated with noise. The person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that the noise a worker is exposed to at the workplace does not exceed the exposure standard for noise.
If you are unsure or if there is some risk WorkSafe will expect you to conduct a noise survey to quantify the risk and establish a hearing conservation or noise risk management plan if required.
Regulation 58 states:
Audiometric testing must be provided to a worker who is frequently required to use personal protective equipment to protect the worker from the risk of hearing loss associated with noise that exceeds the exposure standard.
Audiometric testing is required to be conducted and registered with WorkCover in some states, such is the case for example in WA.
See the anticipated changes for legislation for audiometric testing with the new WHS legislation for WA…