SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 1 December, 2022 – Assist Group, a leading Australian medical service and health testing company, calls for greater awareness and more action to address occupational hearing loss in the workplace. In Australia, occupational hearing loss is one of the most widespread, yet preventable, workplace injuries.
An estimated one million Australians may be exposed to hazardous levels of noise at work in the absence of hearing protection. Common sources of hazardous noise that may lead to hearing loss include machinery, power tools and plant equipment.
According to Safe Work Australia, 23,693 workers’ compensation claims were made in Australia for hearing loss, between 2015 – 2020. Of these claims, 80% came from trades, labourers, and machinery operators.
It is no surprise that the industries with the highest number of claims were in manufacturing, construction, and transport and storage.
However, workplace hearing loss is not only confined to these industries, with airline workers, emergency responders, DJs, tradies and farmers also at risk.
With the rise in the gig economy and on demand trade sourcing platforms, sole traders and contractors may not have the reinforcement from a supervisor or company to comply with these measures. This requires the individual to take more personal responsibility for self management of their own health and wellbeing as well as compliance with correct use of personal protective equipment.
“Noise induced hearing loss is irreversible, so we all have a part to play in preventing exposure while promoting awareness of the issue, especially in the industries of concern,” says CEO at Assist Group James Aldridge.
What exactly is workplace hearing loss? It is defined as a hearing deficiency caused by loud noise exposure or exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Loud noise can damage the fine hair cells in your inner ear. If these cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated. Hearing impairments, in that case, are often permanent.
“In Australia, there is a culture of just getting the job done, no worries. But at what cost? Prevention is better than cure, however in this case, there is no cure for noise induced hearing loss,” said Mr Aldridge.
If a worker needs to frequently wear personal hearing protection to protect them from workplace noise above the noise exposure standard, an audiometric test must be provided to the worker at regular intervals throughout their employment as part of an ongoing hearing conservation program.
Repeated or lengthy exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can cause permanent damage.
“At Assist Group, we’re passionate about our mission to save approximately 30,000 people from serious injury or ill health through the delivery of their medical testing and health screening services by 2030. This includes raising awareness of preventable workplace hearing loss and providing audiometric assessments,” commented Mr Aldridge.
Some important steps that can help reduce the risk of noise-related injury include:
– identifying noise hazards
– undertaking noise level assessments or testing
– using suitable control measures
– providing appropriate personal protective equipment to workers
– reinforcing a culture of safety and compliance with hearing protection, and
– implement an ongoing hearing conservation program involving hearing testing/screening of staff at regular intervals.
For more information on how you can manage noise and preventable hearing loss at work, download Safe Work Australia’s Model Code of Practice: Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work here.
Audiometry tests not only help employers to meet their legal obligations, they also support the overall health and safety of team members.
Assist Group’s Audiogram Assessments are conducted in accordance with AS/NZS1269.4:2014 Occupational Noise Management: Part 4 (Auditory Assessment). Audiometric assessments include: A review previous noise exposure (both work and non-work related) Identification of known, pre-existing ear and hearing issuesStandard air conduction audiogram.
About Assist Group
Assist Group was founded in 1986 and in that time has saved approximately 20,000 people from serious injury or ill health due to their health testing and screening services.
Assist Group’s vision is to become the outsourced total health management and wellness solution for company’s Human Resources. Assist Group provides both ‘on demand’ and ‘solution focused’ health and wellness strategies, including a range of medical and health testing services. It also engages with partner entities to achieve this vision, coordinating a “best of breed” network of medical, health and wellbeing companies.
Company Name: Assist Group
Contact Person: James Aldridge
Email: Send Email
Phone: 1300 475 269
Address:8 Speed Street