Hearing test regulations in WA currently differ from those on the East Coast of Australia. As an employer, it is your responsibility to organise and pay for all WorkCover WA hearing tests.
Is a work hearing test compulsory for everyone?
Hearing test regulations in WA are governed by WorkCover WA. Here you are required to arrange baseline hearing tests in prescribed workplaces, even if your workers are wearing hearing protection. All workers employed in a prescribed workplace for the first time must have a baseline hearing test within twelve months of commencing employment.
According to WorkCover WA, you are deemed to have a prescribed workplace if workers receive a personal noise dose of 90dB(A) or above during an eight hour day, or its equivalent. And where such a day is representative of the worker’s typical work practices – 90dB (A) is approximately equal to the noise from an idling heavy motor truck at a distance of one metre.
Any workers who receive noise above the peak exposure of 140dB(lin) on one or more occasion, even for a short time, will also require hearing testing – 140dB (lin) is approximately equal to the peak noise level from a mid to high calibre firearm at the user’s ear.
Baseline hearing test
A baseline hearing test is the first or initial hearing test conducted to establish the worker’s baseline, or overall Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH). The PLH of all future or subsequent tests will then be compared to this baseline PLH.
It is the employers responsibility to arrange and pay for all baseline and subsequent hearing tests. Your workers must be notified of the time and date of the test. It is the joint responsibility of both employer and workers to make sure that they are not exposed to more than 80dB(A) for 16 hours immediately preceding the test. This is approximately equal to the noise of a vacuum cleaner at a distance of one metre.
Hearing test results
In WA, the employer must submit hearing test results to WorkCover WA, within one month of audiometric testing. A copy must also be provided to the worker. The results are strictly confidential and access cannot be granted to anyone without the workers’ written consent.
Approved Audiometric Officers in WA
Only hearing testers approved by WorkCover WA can conduct WorkCover WA hearing tests as the hearing testing environment and equipment must meet stringent standards.
- All of CHP’s Audiometric Officers are WorkCover approved.
- Our onsite mobile hearing test facilities are WorkCover accredited
- We come to your workplace to reduce worker downtime
- We manage all of the paperwork for you, including hearing test results being registered with WorkCover WA.
Workers Compensation Claims for NIHL
Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is one of the most common claims under Workers Compensation in Australia.
If a subsequent hearing test shows an increase in overall hearing loss of at least 10% from the baseline PLH test, you and your worker will be advised by WorkCover WA of the need for further testing to determine if there is a compensable loss.
Hearing test regulations in WA are likely to change in 2020, and will more closely align with those on the East Coast. In the meantime, employers with workers in WA must be aware of existing hearing test regulations for WA workers.