Short-term effects such as ringing in the ears may go away after leaving the noisy area. However, repeated exposure to noise hazards can lead to permanent tinnitus or hearing loss.
In addition to hearing damage, noise hazards can:
- Create physical and psychological stress
- Reduce productivity
- Interfere with communication and concentration
- Contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals or instruction
Reducing noise levels at the source provides the most effective way of protecting workers' hearing, as well as providing numerous other benefits.
In Western Australia, the exposure standard for noise set out in the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 is:
- A daily noise exposure level of 85 dB over an 8 hour period
- A peak noise level of 140 dB
The Workers' Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 sets out the requirements for audiometric testing of workers who work in a prescribed workplace. A prescribed workplace is a workplace where a worker is receiving, or likely to receive, a noise level of:
- An L peak of 140 dB
- A representative of 90 dB over an 8 hour period
Conducting a noise assessment will determine if work areas, or activities performed, fall into the category of a prescribed workplace.
What can you, the member, do?
To establish if you have a noise issue at your local government, it is recommended to conduct a noise assessment.
If it is identified as a noisy workplace, you can reduce noise levels where possible. Steps to achieve this include:
- Developing a Noise Management Plan
- Developing a "Buy Quiet" Policy for the purchase of machinery, plant and equipment
- Ensuring proper selection of personal hearing protectors based upon individual fit and the manufacturers testing
- Providing training to ensure workers are aware of the effects of excessive noise and how to properly use the personal hearing protectors they have been provided with
- Maintaining a worker audiometric testing program (hearing tests) where required by WorkCover WA
How can LGIS assist?
LGIS have approved noise officers who specialize in conducting noise and exposure assessments in all workplace environments.
Members will receive a tailored report outlining the findings and recommendations.
In addition, at the request of the member, LGIS can assist in the development of supporting plans, policies and procedures.
If you would like further information please contact the risk & governance team on (08) 9483 8888.