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Testing to check your PPE is working can help prevent occupational illness

Noise and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a serious issue and can affect a worker’s ability to perform their duties safely.

In the NSW coal mining industry, the noise hazards arising from equipment and processes leave workers exposed to risk. Employers and workers must be aware of workplace noise exposures and implement and maintain effective noise control strategies to minimise risk.

NIHL has the highest incidence rate and the highest number of claims for occupational disease in the coal industry.

Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, regular audiometric (hearing) testing is necessary where workers are frequently required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against hearing loss associated with noisy workplaces.

We can help you comply with the WHS laws that require employers to provide audiometric testing for their workers:

  • within three months of the worker commencing work
  • in any event, at least every three years.

CS Health conducts audiometric testing as part of preplacement medicals and periodic health assessments. These are used to identify and monitor hearing loss over time.

In addition, CS Health uses the E-A-Rfit Validation System to ensure that hearing protection fits properly. This testing has proven to be an invaluable exercise in helping workers to lower their exposure to noise.

The E-A-Rfit tests can be added onto the standard preplacement medicals and periodic health surveillance, or can be conducted as a separate service. Education about correctly fitting PPE can be provided at the time of testing, and even if a worker experiences hearing loss, properly fitted PPR can reduce the effect of repeated noise exposure.

We also conduct respiratory fit testing, which is used to assess whether the respirator forms an adequate seal around the face and verifies whether the user has an adequate level of protection. Respiratory fit testing is recommended under Australian Standard 1715-2009 and should be performed on all tight-fitting respirators every 12 months.