Managing an occupational safety and health noise monitoring program can be a time consuming, inefficient and non regulatory compliant task if not overseen effectively. One approach to eliminating the myriad of barriers for a comprehensive monitoring program is to incorporate a third party vendor within it.
Taking the necessary time up front to invest in a vendor during a vetting process will pay dividends in the near future. This article will focus on what the vetting process is to consist of, specifically what to bargain for, so that you know if your investment is paying off like it should.
However, before we do, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of an onsite test.
- Very little downtime for workers to leave their job to attend an offsite clinic appointment. Usually 10-15 minutes per person to complete the test. Employer is able to temporarily shut down a department or production line for a very short period of time. Or substitute employees are placed to keep production going while a group of individuals are having the testing conducted.
- More cost effective than making appointments at clinics due to group testing compared to individual testing. One schedule for a mobile unit is all that is needed; no multiple schedules for large groups.
- Subject Matter Experts (SME) are experienced, trained and qualified personnel who understand how to conduct noise testing and are experts in noise regulations. Some medical centers may not have the expertise requirements.
- Direct line of communication. SME’s available to ask questions and provide explanation prior to, during and after testing.
- Required noise and hearing training done at time of testing. No need to schedule two separate time slots, one for testing and another for training.
Vendor Vetting – On site Hearing test Mobile Unit
Consider the mobile unit the vendor will bring onsite. How many individual booths does it accommodate? Do the booths meet regulatory standards for audiometry assessments. Are the calibration records of hearing test equipment current and up to date and available for review?
Is the trailer properly equipped with air conditioning and heat for the comfort of employees as well as for the audiometric professional? Does the mobile unit have backup power?
Vendor Vetting – Audiometric testing Services & Cost
Does the vendor provide additional services besides audiometric testing tied to the cost? Is the price structure easy to understand, competitive when compared to other vendors and is it all inclusive (watch out for hidden costs)? What type of reports are provided for the employer and for the employee? Is a retainer available?
Vendor Vetting – Referrals
Ask for at least three recent referrals from the vendor. Do your due diligence and contact the referrals to ask about the vendor’s quality of service, professionalism of technicians, ease of scheduling for testing and accuracy of documents.
Vendor Vetting – Insurance & Business Documents
Does the vendor have the appropriate business entity documents to be in business? Is their insurance applicable to meet employer and jurisdictional requirements?
The vendor vetting list is not all inclusive. Many additional factors do play in the process such as employer specific requirements for vendors to come onsite to conduct a business activity. Nevertheless, this article does provide a framework of the benefits for onsite hearing test and how to make sure the investment of doing so is protected.