SSTUWA - State School Teachers' Union of Western Australia

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Hear This: Baseline Hearing Tests

hearing-testThe Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1981 requires that employers identify workers who are exposed to a daily noise of 90 decibels (dB), or the equivalent, and have them baseline hearing tested.

The baseline hearing test is the initial audiometric test conducted to establish a person’s baseline hearing ability at the commencement of employment. The exit test is the test of hearing ability conducted at the termination of employment. Hearing loss is the decrease of hearing ability revealed by the difference between the baseline and subsequent tests.

All staff in the following occupations, who have not previously had a baseline hearing test, are required to undergo testing by a WorkCover accredited tester.

All new staff are to have a baseline test within 12 months of commencing work (staff transferring between schools within the Department do not need to have another hearing test provided they have had a baseline hearing test since 1991).

Staff that require baseline hearing tests are:

  • Design and Technology Teachers;
  • Physical Education Teachers (who use starter guns);
  • Gardeners;
  • Gardeners;
  • Farm Demonstrators; and
  • Farm Supervisors

Staff who work in the above-mentioned areas who are either retiring or resigning are also required to have an ‘exit’ test.

Staff may also request, in writing, to be further tested if they are experiencing hearing problems. This request is to be made to the school Principal.

If you are working with very noisy equipment and machinery, you should report the issue to your line-manager as it may be possible to reduce the noise levels being produced at source. You must also be provided with appropriate hearing protection that complies with Australian Standards.

Further information about the procedure for accessing hearing tests can be found on the DoE website in the ‘Our Policies’ section.

Authorised by Tony Mullen, General Secretary SSTUWA

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