Telford Occupational Health Service

Noise and Audiometry

An employer is required under the Management Regulations to make an assessment of risks in the workplace.

Significant noise levels can damage the hearing of employees who are exposed to them. Therefore, if companies identify noise as a potential hazard in their workplace a detailed noise assessment will be required.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations requires an employer to ensure that a 'competent' person makes a noise assessment. If the expertise to carry out a noise assessment is not available 'in-house', it recommends that a consultant should be employed to undertake the tasks required for the legislation.

TOHS can provide a list of companies who can undertake a survey on your behalf.

Where the results indicate that there is significant risk to health, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations requires employers to protect the health of their employees. Used as part of a health surveillance programme, audiometry can help employers meet their duties under these Regulations.

TOHS provide an occupational audiometry service that involves a screening technique used to detect early damage to hearing resulting from exposure to noise. Identifying any damage ensures appropriate follow-up remedial action in the workplace and any necessary advice or medical referral of the individual.

The audiometric programme follows 'best recommended practice', which consists of a baseline audiogram prior to exposure to noise, followed by a schedule of monitoring. As a guide, monitoring usually includes annual tests for the first 2 years of employment and thereafter at 3-yearly intervals. More frequent testing may be required if abnormalities are detected or exposure conditions change increasing the risk of hearing damage.

At baseline examination, information using a questionnaire about the individuals medical history and other exposures to noise is obtained and at follow-up examinations, questions are asked about the use of hearing protection, noise exposure problems relating to the ears and hearing.

As well as reaching a conclusion on the cause of the hearing loss, a medical referral via the individual's General Practitioner and subsequent liaison with TOHS provides an opportunity to consider whether the individual should be advised to continue to work in a noisy environment. In exceptional circumstances a TOHS medical officer may indicate to the employer that an individual is no longer fit for their current employment if there are any specific hearing requirements for the job.

TOHS will maintain the records resulting from the programme and can provide companies with statistical data on the hearing of their workforce. This information may be used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a hearing conservation programme in different areas of the workplace or for groups of employees.

 

Occupational Health Centre, Halesfield 13, Telford, Shropshire TF7 4PL
Tel/Fax: 01952 581251 email: mw@tohs.co.uk