Health surveillance is a requirement under ‘The Control of Noise at Work Regulations’, 2005 for workers who are regularly exposed to noise over the upper exposure action value of 85 dB (A).
Other workers should have health surveillance provided where their exposure is either:
1. Between the lower exposure action value of 80 dB (A) and the upper value of 85 dB (A) and the individual may be particularly sensitive to noise.
2. Or occasional exposure above the upper exposure action value and the individual may be particularly sensitive to noise.
Sensitivity may be indicated by previous audiometry, medical history, history of exposure to noise above 85 dB (A) or in where there is a family history of early deafness.
Suitable health surveillance means:
- Regular hearing tests over a range of sound frequencies
- Maintenance of suitable records
- Informing workers about the state of their hearing
- Proper fitting, maintenance and cleanliness of the hearing protection used
The results of each audiometry test should be explained to the employee, this should include:
- The condition of their hearing
- The significance of hearing damage
- The importance of compliance with the employer’s noise control and hearing protection programme
- The need for further referral if appropriate
Audiometry health surveillance takes approximately 20 minutes and includes:
- A confidential questionnaire
- Health surveillance
- Ear examination (Otoscopy)
- Referral to a specialist medical consultant if necessary
- A record sheet for managers which will satisfy HSE requirements
The individual conducting the health surveillance should be:
- Fully conversant with the technical aspects of audiometry
- Fully conversant with the ethical aspects of audiometry
The HSE has categorised hearing as follows:
Category 1 – acceptable hearing ability
Category 2 – mild hearing impairment, needs formal notification of hearing loss
Category 3 – Poor hearing, suggests significant noise induced hearing loss requiring appropriate referral for further medical assessment
Category 4 – rapid hearing loss requiring appropriate referral for further medical assessment
U – Unilateral hearing loss requiring appropriate referral for further medical assessment
Pre-placement audiometry assessments should be made to establish a baseline of hearing. This should include an audiometry questionnaire and a hearing test.
Annual audiometry and questionnaire completion should be undertaken for the first two years of employment and then every three years thereafter. Audiometry may be carried out more frequently when an abnormality in hearing is identified or where the risk of hearing damage is high.
Current audiograms need to be assessed against previous audiograms and assessed according to the HSE categorisation (Guidance L108).
Acorn Occupational Health provides audiometry testing and risk assessments for noise in the workplace throughout the UK. We offer surveillance for any number of employees; up to 56 employees per day.
How can Acorn Occupational Health help you?
As a leading provider of occupational health services across the UK, Acorn Occupational Health’s dedicated health surveillance teams will work with you to ensure that onsite visits run smoothly and effectively. Each employee receives a personal summary of their health surveillance. The employer will receive a non-confidential health record for each individual, along with anonymous group statistics where appropriate. Our experienced Medical Technicians/Occupational Health Advisors aim to deliver a cost effective service designed to meet the needs of your business.