WorkCover WA Audiometric Testing
WorkCover WA Audiometric Testing requires certain employers to provide audiometric testing for their employees who are exposed to noise in the workplace. Audiometric testing is a type of hearing test that measures a person’s ability to hear sounds at different frequencies and volumes.
Employers in Western Australia who are required to provide audiometric testing to their employees must do so in accordance with WorkCover WA’s Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996. These regulations require employers to:
- Provide audiometric testing to employees who are exposed to noise levels at or above 85 decibels over an eight-hour workday
- Provide testing before the employee is exposed to the noise, and then at regular intervals after that
- Ensure that the testing is conducted by a competent person who has received appropriate training
- Keep accurate records of the testing and provide a copy of the test results to the employee
WorkCover WA provides additional guidance on audiometric testing and other occupational health and safety requirements on its website. Employers who are unsure whether they need to provide audiometric testing or who have questions about how to comply with WorkCover WA’s regulations should consult with a qualified occupational health and safety professional or contact WorkCover WA directly for guidance.
Who needs to be tested?
All workers employed in a ‘prescribed workplace’ must undergo ‘Baseline’ audiometric testing within twelve months of commencing work at the prescribed workplace.
What is a prescribed workplace?
A ‘prescribed workplace’ is a workplace where a worker receives a representative daily noise dose (8hr day) of 90dB(A) or its equivalent, or a peak noise exposure of 140dB (lin) at any time.
When do workers need to be tested?
Baseline audiometric test
All workers who have never had a ‘Baseline’ test who begin working for the first time in a ‘prescribed workplace’ must have a ‘Baseline’ test within twelve months of starting the job.
It is the employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for baseline and subsequent tests and notify workers of the time and date of the test. It is the responsibility of both the worker and the employer to ensure that you 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 one metre away.
Subsequent audiometric test
All workers continuing employment in a ‘prescribed workplace’ may request a hearing test every year, for which the employer is required to pay. The request should be in writing and the employer must arrange the test within one month of the request.
When a worker leaves a job, they are not required to have an exit test, but it is recommended that the employer arrange this.
If a worker has undergone a test within 3 months of starting a new job, that test may be taken as occurring at the time the worker started the new job and the worker would not need to be re-tested. This is providing the test was conducted in accordance with WorkCover WA testing procedures.
Retirement audiometric test
Workers who are retiring should have a hearing test at the time they leave their job unless they have had a test within 3 months of leaving the job.
If a retired worker returns to work in a ‘prescribed workplace,’ they must have a hearing test within three months of starting the job.
Approved Audiometric Officers
Only testers approved by WorkCover WA can conduct the tests as the testing environment and equipment must also meet stringent standards. Environmental Site Services is approved to conduct Audiometric Testing
How do you know if a testing booth will comply with the standard?
All testing booths must be issued with a Certificate of Approval from WorkCover WA which will indicate the measured ambient noise levels across applicable octave band centre frequencies. This must not exceed the maximum permissible noise levels of the earphone/cushion combination, or the results obtained from tests conducted in these testing booths/environments will not be accepted by WorkCover WA for the purposes of the legislation.
To be eligible for approval, a testing booth must be evaluated by a qualified noise assessor or persons who are eligible for full membership of the Australian Acoustical Society. The testing booth must comply with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1269.4:2014 for the type of earphone/cushion enclosure attached to the audiometer.
A list of approved noise assessors is available from DMIRS. The noise assessor must provide the booth owner with a completed Form 408. This form must then be submitted to WorkCover WA before an approval certificate is issued.
For full audiological assessments at either the baseline or subsequent levels, the requirement for bone conduction assessment will almost certainly mean that the testing environment must meet the greatest level of attenuation required in the above standards.