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Benefits of obtaining an “Exit Audiogram” for staff

on 25 Jun 2015 11:10 AM
  • exit audiogram
Blog Category: Health Blog, Uncategorized

Noise induced hearing loss is an irreversible condition that can have significant impacts on people’s lives.

Section 3.2.11 – Audiometric tests, of the Victorian Regulations states: “If an employer is required under regulation 3.2.4(1)(d) to provide hearing protectors to an employee, the employer must provide for audiometric testing for that employee..."

Audiometric testing individually assesses and monitors hearing thresholds across a range of frequencies, and is generally conducted in a calibrated sound booth by a trained Audiometrist. This means that if someone has noise induced hearing loss, the testing will identify this and to what extent.

For employers who truly want to provide a safe working environment with no noise induced hearing loss, a documented noise management plan is vital.

The recommended methodology for a comprehensive noise management plan includes:

In Victoria, the current legislation states that if there is a shift in frequencies 3K, 4K or 6K hertz of 15dB or more from their previous audiometric tests, they are required to go for further audiological examination at the employer’s expense.

This is to identify any permanent or temporary threshold shifts in one’s hearing. The reporting of these results is very important, as it can serve a major role in compensation and claims against the employee’s employer.

 

So just how are hearing loss claims for impairment benefits assessed?

WorkSafe uses guidelines prepared by the National Acoustic Laboratory (NAL), a Commonwealth Government Authority that conducts scientific research into all aspects of hearing.

The following extract is taken directly from the WorkSafe website.

How does WorkSafe decide which employer is liable for a hearing loss claim?

As hearing loss injuries can occur over extended periods of time, the Legislation provides a method that allocates liability to one employer for all gradual onset hearing loss claims. This is based on a deemed date of injury, which is either:

The employer at the time of the deemed injury date is the one liable for the hearing loss claim. This method of liability allocation provides a consistent and timely approach to managing hearing loss claims.

It makes sense to record and log your employees hearing thresholds, as soon as they leave the company. There is quite a lot of grey area here.

Imagine a scenario like this:

An employee received his last documented audiometric test in May 2013, therefore will be due in May 2015. This employee leaves your company in March 2015. This employee goes on an motorbike tour for April and also listens to a lot of loud rock bands for 2 months. Another company offers employment in July, but he doesn’t receive an audiometric test until November, and the day he did get testing, he hadn’t been wearing hearing protection, so had a temporary threshold hearing increase (or auditory fatigue, whereby a temporary loss of hearing occurs after exposure to sound).

Not only has he taken part in noisy hobbies outside of work, like riding on a loud motorcycle, but at night also been listening to extremely loud rock music at festivals. His new workplace has a poorly managed noise management plan, and he is exposed to noise for the first 2 months without any hearing PPE. The claim for noise induced hearing loss from his time at your workplace will most likely increase dramatically as according to WorkSafe policy, you may be liable for this.

For more information, contact us for a clearly documented report and audiogram of your departing employees hearing thresholds and don’t be caught paying claims higher than you should have.


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