As an employer, it’s your duty to provide health surveillance (hearing checks) for all your employees who are likely to be regularly exposed above the high levels of noise exposure. Audiometry tests are done to prevent long term hearing damage as the test detects any early damage to hearing from exposure to noise. If your employees already suffer from hearing loss, regular testing should be done in order to prevent any further damage to their hearing as it could have irreversible effects if left untested.
Have you had a noise risk assessment done in your workplace? If you haven’t you should get one done as it determines whether you need audiometry surveillance by law or best practice. If your noise risk assessment results show that the noise levels are over 85 decibels, you are required to offer your employees an audiometry test. However we advise that if noise levels are over 80 decibels, you should get audiometry surveillance completed as best practice. Remember by law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise to protect the hearing of your employees.
Take a look at the legislation for audiometry surveillance in the workplace below:
Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999 (MHSW Regs).
Audiometry is a technique used to detect early damage to hearing from exposure to noise. Identifying any damage allows appropriate action to be taken, as well as a referral of the individual. Audio Surveillance may also find changes in hearing due to other causes outside of work.
At the beginning of the assessment, it is important to obtain the individual’s medical history and other exposures to noise. During follow up examinations, questions should be asked about:
- The use of hearing protection
- Any changes in working patterns and noise exposure
- Any complaints relating to the ears or hearing
After performing the hearing test, any issues arising with an employee are then brought to the attention of the company management and a referral service is offered.
A hearing assessment is performed to set a baseline for hearing, this is normally done during the first year of work. Then a comparative test should be undertaken 12 months later. If these tests don’t flag any problems, your schedule of testing should then fall back to every two-three years dependent upon your requirements. All new starters should be seen immediately complete the process above.
So what industries do require an audiometry test?
Many workplaces need audiometry tests and do not know it! From the construction industry to paint sprayers to office workers you may need audiometry tests at your workplace!
The main job roles that require audiometry tests are as follows:
- FLT Drivers
- Machine Operatives
- Paint Sprayers
- Safety Critical roles
- Warehouse workers
And many more industries! If you would like to find out more give us a call or drop us an email. Contact details can be found at the bottom of the page.
Do we still need audiometry surveillance if we wear PPE?
The short answer is yes – you still need audiometry surveillance even when wearing PPE. This is because although PPE should lower the risks, no PPE will provide complete protection as it will only provide limited protection from the risks to your hearing.
Remember the use of PPE must not increase the overall level of risk, i.e PPE must not be worn if the risk caused by wearing it is greater than the risk against which it is meant to protect.
Should subcontractors be included in the health surveillance program?
We always advise to capture subcontractors in the health surveillance program to protect the individual but also to release liability from the company.
What if the subcontractor started after we have completed the health surveillance?
We can offer post-employment medicals for any employees or subcontractors that start after the annual health surveillance has been completed. We can either travel out to complete this however, a more cost-effective way would be to send the employee to a local clinic.
Check out another one of our blogs for the audiometry process https://www.healthscreenuk.co.uk/process-of-audiometry-testing/
If you need further help to identify whether you need audiometry in the workplace please contact us today on 01455 243700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you within 24 hours on a work day to help.