Noise in the workplace procedure

Intent and objectives

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure noise in the workplace is controlled and does not expose people to the risk of hearing loss.

Scope

RMIT University-wide.

Exclusions

None

Procedure steps and actions

1. Responsibility

Heads of Schools/Executive Directors

  • Adopt a “buy quiet” policy and consider noise emissions when buying new plant and equipment.
  • Arrange for a noise assessment to be conducted as soon as practicable after there has been a change in the workplace likely to affect a staff member’s exposure to noise, at any time when reasonably requested by the Health and Safety Representative of the designated work unit or at any time when requested by a WorkSafe Inspector. Contact OHS advisor in Human resources to co-ordinate.
  • Ensure the Health and Safety Representative of the designated work unit and staff are consulted when conducting, reviewing and revising a noise assessment and when developing and implementing controls.
  • Arrange and pay for audiometric testing of staff within 3 months of commencing work in a hazardous noise area. Audiometric testing is conducted for RMIT by: Noise Management Services
  • Pay for and ensure staff participate in the on-site audiometric testing arranged by Human Resources every 2 years
  • Ensure staff/students are clearly aware of when and where to use hearing protectors by signs, labelling of plant or other appropriate means.
  • Ensure appropriate hearing protection is provided to staff/students in noisy areas and that it is worn at all times.
  • Ensure staff who work in identified hazardous noise areas are provided with appropriate information, instruction and training on the health effects of exposure to noise, the need for control measures and the nature and purpose of audiometric testing and audiological examinations.

Staff

  • Staff who work in hazardous noise areas are required to:
  • Follow all instructions that aim to reduce the risk of hearing loss in the workplace.
  • Wear hearing protectors at all times in hazardous noise areas where they are required.
  • Participate in audiometric testing as required.
  • Participate in training and information sessions relating to noise in the workplace.
  • Ensure students working in hazardous noise areas are aware of and follow all instructions required to reduce the risk of hearing loss.

Human Resources

  • Co-ordinate the University noise assessment every five years and the development of a University Noise Management Plan.
  • Co-ordinate a noise assessment in areas where requested within the five year period.
  • Co-ordinate on-site audiometric testing every two years for staff working in hazardous noise work areas.
  • Provide appropriate information, instruction and training every two years, or as requested, to staff working in hazardous noise areas.
  • Investigate and review control measures in work areas where audiometric testing of staff indicates hearing loss.
  • Monitor compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
  • Maintain hearing records

2. Procedure

To comply with the Regulations, the following actions must be undertaken:

  • Consider quieter ways of doing work.
  • Consider noise in the purchase stage and buy quieter equipment where it must be used.
  • Conduct an assessment of exposure to noise in areas where it may exceed the noise exposure standard. The assessment should determine the level of noise and the duration of exposure. Assessments must be revised at least every 5 years or where circumstances change or the health and safety representative requests.
  • Implement control measures in workplaces where staff/students are exposed to noise that exceeds the noise exposure standards. The control measures should be considered within the hierarchy of controls:

1. Eliminate the source of excessive noise

2. Reduce the exposure of excessive noise by substituting quieter plant or processes or using engineering controls

3. If there is still exposure to excessive noise after implementing controls in (2), reduce the exposure to excessive noise using administrative controls

4. If there is still exposure to excessive noise after implementing controls in (2) and (3), provide hearing protectors to reduce the exposure.

5. Develop a written action plan where implementation of higher order controls are proposed but it is not practicable to do so within 6 months. The plan should outline the actions needed to implement safety measures and the time frames for those actions. Where hearing protectors are required to be used, clearly identify by signs, labelling of plant or other appropriate means, when and where the hearing protectors are to be worn.

  • Conduct audiometric testing for staff required to wear hearing protectors. The testing must be conducted within 3 months after a staff member commences work in the area and then at least every 2 years.
  • Provide for staff to undergo an audiological examination if the results of 2 consecutive audiometric tests indicate a specified reduction in hearing loss.
  • Review and revise control measure where hearing loss is likely to be due to exposure to noise in the workplace.
  • Maintain copies of all test results and provide a copy to staff and a copy to Human Resources for recording.
  • Provide the health and safety representative with a copy of the aggregate results of audiometric testing if requested.
  • Provide all staff who work in hazardous noise areas with information, instruction and training on the health effects of exposure to noise, the need for control measures and the nature and purpose of audiometric testing and audiological examinations.

3. Records

Record

Responsibility

Location

Duration

Media

Audiometric Test Results

Human Resources

City Campus

30 Years

Hard Copy

Noise Risk Assessment

Human Resources

City Campus

30 years

Hard copy

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