What is a WorkCover hearing test?
In WA, a WorkCover hearing test is governed by WorkCover WA. Under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, it is compulsory for employers to arrange and pay for baseline hearing tests for all workers in prescribed “noisy” workplaces.
All workers employed in a prescribed workplace for the first time must have a baseline hearing test within 12 months of commencing employment, regardless of whether the worker is wearing hearing protection. This is often the test people refer to as “a WorkCover hearing test”.
What is a baseline hearing test?
A baseline hearing test is the first audiometric test that establishes a worker’s baseline or overall percentage loss of hearing. This result is the benchmark against which all of their future tests are compared to determine the possible level of occupational hearing loss and any potential compensation. You may be required to undergo a baseline full audiological assessment as part of the baseline hearing test, however this is only required by a relatively small percentage of the population and you will be notified by WorkCover if this is the case.
What is a subsequent hearing test?
Following a baseline hearing test, workers may make a request to their employer in writing for subsequent hearing testing on an annual basis. While subsequent tests are compulsory only when requested by a worker, employers are encouraged to provide regular audiometric testing to monitor any changes in hearing loss and manage the risk of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) compensation claims.
If a subsequent test result indicates a loss of 10% or more in a worker’s hearing since their baseline test, WorkCover WA will advise both the worker and the employer. Further testing will be required to confirm if the worker qualifies for NIHL compensation.
It is the employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the baseline hearing test and any subsequent hearing tests whilst employed with that employer.
Arranging a WorkCover hearing test
Employers are required to use audiometric officers approved by WorkCover WA. The testing environment and equipment must also meet stringent standards.
WHP has accredited audiometric officers and also WorkSafe accredited Noise Officers. Noise Officers are trained to conduct workplace Noise Surveys to identify the daily noise exposures of all workers, and to enable the adoption of a risk management strategy for those noise hazards identified. This includes identifying those employees who require hearing testing.