WorkSafe looks at noise in manufacturing workplaces

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WorkSafe will soon begin an inspection program looking at noise levels in manufacturing workplaces.

The program will continue throughout the 2015/16 financial year in workplaces carrying out manufacturing activities in metropolitan and regional areas of the State.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the main objective of the program was to raise awareness of how noise hazards should be assessed and controlled.

“We need to raise awareness that noise induced hearing loss is a very common and potentially a very serious issue for workers,” Mr Attard said.

“Whenever inspectors visit a manufacturing workplace for any reason they will also run through the noise checklist and ask employers if they have a hearing protection policy, and if so, whether it is being enforced and workers are actually abiding by noise control.

“The program has been initiated because noise-induced hearing loss is one of the priority disorders under the national Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 and manufacturing is one of WorkSafe’s priority industries.

“Inspectors will pay particular attention to small businesses because past experience shows that small business employers are often less aware of what is required of them.

“The rule-of-thumb question often used in relation to noise is “Do you have to raise your voice when speaking to someone a metre away?”.  If the answer is “yes”, the risk needs to be assessed and action taken to control it.”

This week is national Hearing Awareness Week, organised by Deafness Forum of Australia to highlight the issues faced by people with hearing loss, including isolation, lack of work opportunities and associated health problems.

Around 3.5 million Australians are known to be hearing impaired or deaf, with many more affected by noise levels at work but not acting on their condition.

In WA, a number of organisations will be holding events during Hearing Awareness Week to help raise awareness and understanding of hearing loss, its impact and where to find help if suffering from hearing impairment.

“Hearing Awareness Week is the perfect time to highlight this proactive inspection program and remind employers of the importance of preventing work-related hearing loss in their employees,” Mr Attard said.

“So if a WorkSafe inspector visits your workplace this financial year, expect them to check on your noise policies and be prepared to improve them if necessary.”

Further information on controlling noise:

For further information about Hearing Awareness Week, go to www.hearingawarenessweek.org.au

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

WorkSafe
Media release
24 Aug 2015

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