Noise in the workplace is a major cause of deafness in Western Australia.
If people’s ears are exposed to loud noise continually over a period of time, the nerve cells in the inner ear may eventually die and not respond to sound. This condition is called noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL loss cannot be reversed or cured. NIHL is permanent and currently cannot be cured or repaired through medication or surgery. Hearing aids may only offer limited benefit.
Workplace noise levels
From an OHS regulation perspective, if employees in your workplace are exposed to noise that exceeds the exposure standard of 85 decibels (dB) averaged over an eight hour period or a peak noise level of 140 dB(C) then your workplace is too noisy.
Some indicators that employees’ exposure may be above the exposure standard are:
- employees have to raise their voice to communicate at a distance of 1 metre
- employees have a temporary reduction in hearing or ringing in the ears after leaving work for the day, or
- employees use hearing protectors during the work day.
A noise survey or noise assessment can tell who is at risk of losing their hearing, what is causing that risk and what needs to be fixed. It is also a legal requirement if an employee may be exposed to noise that exceeds the noise exposure standard.
It is the employer’s responsibility to undertake or organise a noise survey.
Noise Survey requirements in WA
A noise survey must be carried out when:
- new plant or equipment is installed
- if there are changes in the length of time a machine is on or being used since the last survey
- at least every 5 years.
A noise dosimeter is used to evaluate the average exposure of employees to noise during a normal shift. Ideally, when taking measurements, the noise dosimeter would be attached to the employee at the start of a shift and collected at the end of the shift, in order to most accurately assess the employee’s noise exposure over the whole shift. CHP’s Noise Officers will discuss this with you, and make sure they have a good understanding of the tasks performed during the shift and the cycles of those tasks.
Mobile onsite hearing tests – Perth
As well as Noise and other environmental surveys, we provide onsite hearing testing from our fully accredited, spacious, air-conditioned mobile facility.
We can test 6 people an hour at your workplace, and will work in with different shifts to make it easier for you to have everyone tested at the same time.