What is noise and how is it defined as an occupational hazard? Noise is defined as a sound or sounds that are loud, unpleasant and undesired. Noise is simply any unwanted sound. It is a byproduct of industrial process such as operating machinery that either damages or destroys the nerves in the inner ear and is often overlooked as a hazardous condition.
The first step to combat noise hazard is to determine if it actually exists in the workplace. This is accomplished by conducting a noise survey. A noise survey is conducted in areas where noise exposure is likely to be hazardous. Furthermore,a comprehensive noise survey will provide the employer with the information they need to either control hazardous occupational noise exposure or to rest easy knowing that their workplace noise levels are within, below legal requirements that require additional tasks such as audiometric testing. The only way to demonstrate that a workplace is safe from a noise hazard would be to complete an occupational noise assessment.
By completing workplace noise testing,the employer has taken the first (and largest) step towards reducing the risk to their business that hazardous occupational noise provides.
The remaining portion of this article will be contributed to onsite hearing test. This hearing test is often referred to as the audiometric test. The test is a requirement for the employer to incorporate into their business schedule as well as the monitoring program once noise levels have been determined through the noise survey that it does exceed beyond regulatory requirements.
How often does a hearing test need to be conducted? The answer is once every 2 years or more frequently if employees are exposed to higher levels of hazardous noise.
If, as an employer you issue hearing protection to your employees, then the WHS/OHS Act/Regulations in your state requires an employer to submitted its employees for audiometric testing.
Coordinating employees to participate in audiometric testing can be an exhausting effort when the testing is to be conducted outside the workplace. Too many factors; such as no transportation, personal schedules after work, etc., hinder on the success of having employees conduct a work assignment off site within a specific time period. Therefore, onsite hearing testing is an alternative to consider to resolve this problem.
Onsite hearing testing is conducted via a mobile unit of which can be scheduled during operational activities on the day, or multiple days of the testing to minimize any business disruption to the normal work day routine. Having hearing tests conducted at your work place helps you to minimize interruption to daily work assignments such as production and or construction activities.
As part of providing onsite testing, vendors will include as part of their service a complete summary of test results, an analysis of employees tests (with previous results) and all relevant documentation for the jurisdictional legal authorities. Another huge asset for the employer is that the required education altraining material will also be provided to each employee about hearing loss during their onsite scheduled test. In other words, the burden of scheduling and conducting employee training is managed at the same time of testing instead of on two separate occasions.
Onsite audiometric testing is an effective time management tool for employers to consider. It eliminates any concern of the required information and documentation needed for regulatory purposes, for the individuals who conduct the testing are well qualified in the subject matter.