Tools and resources to help employers achieve their hearing conservation program goals
Your hearing conservation program starts here.
Under Work Health and Safety Legislation in Australia, ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBU) are required to manage the risk to health and safety due to hazardous noise in the workplace, and must ensure workers are not exposed to workplace noise above the workplace exposure standard (WES) of LAeq,8h of 85 dB(A) or LC,peak of 140 dB(C). The Safe Work Australia Code of Practice: Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work (2018), provides support for complying with the regulatory noise exposure standard, and The Australia/New Zealand Standards AS/NZS1269 series, provides guidance on all facets of managing noise in the workplace including implementing a Noise Management Program (also known as a Hearing Conservation Program). Whether you are setting up a Hearing Conservation Program for the first time or looking to improve an existing program, 3M can help.
When you’re committed to hearing loss prevention, your workers are more likely to share your dedication and protect their hearing. With world-class, proven detection, protection, communication and validation products, 3M Hearing Solutions is the partner you’ll want with you every step of the way.
An effective hearing conservation program begins with measurement. Accurate measurement of an employee's exposure to hazardous noise is essential. A noise assessment (also known as survey) can help identify workers at risk, determine who needs to be included in your program, and select the proper noise control measures and appropriate hearing protectors to help reduce these risks.
Certain operations and machinery create high noise levels. But do they have to? Equipment and processes can be designed or altered to be quieter, reducing the number of employees in your conservation program.
Hearing protectors play an important role in your hearing conservation program. They must be comfortable, worn correctly, provide adequate protection, and worn throughout the period of exposure to noise. Compatibility with other PPE and the workers' ability to communicate without removing their hearing protectors must also be considered. 3M recommends conducting individual fit-testing of earplugs and earmuffs to help educate workers on the importance of hearing protection, and validate the Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) for each individual.
Because noise-induced hearing loss usually happens gradually and the symptoms are not always apparent, it is vital to educate workers on the effects of exposure to loud noise and train them to properly use hearing protection. You may be able to improve the success of your hearing loss prevention efforts by strengthening worker training and motivation programs.
Keeping confidential, accurate and up-to-date records of noise assessments, actions taken, instrument calibrations, audiometric tests, attenuation ratings and training helps you manage and audit your program. It also helps protect your company and your workers in the long run.
Ensure your hearing conservation program is working with regular program evaluations that include workers' feedback, responsibility reviews, and cost analysis. This will identify trends, magnify problem areas, and drive improvement.
As you explore the seven elements of occupational hearing conservation in this program, you will find information and resources in each of these categories:
• Key Takeaways – Important points on each topic
• Getting Started–Steps to implementing each of the program elements
• Requirements – A summary of what employers must do to comply with applicable regulations
• Beyond the Basics – Ideas for strengthening your program
• Have You Considered?— Questions to generate discussion about the effectiveness of your program
• Resources— Links to articles, tools and reference materials
This information is based on selected current national requirements. Other country or local requirements may be different. Always consult User Instructions and follow local laws and regulations. This website contains an overview of general information and should not be relied upon to make specific decisions. Reading this information does not certify proficiency in safety and health. Information is current as of the date of publication, and requirements can change in the future. This information should not be relied upon in isolation, as the content is often accompanied by additional and/or clarifying information. All applicable laws and regulations must be followed.