WorkCover NSW addressed businesses in New South Wales about the importance of managing the noise in the workplace. It has come to the attention of WorkCover NSW that workplace noise can cause a major hearing disturbance.
John Watson, General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division of WorkCover, said that safety laws dictate businesses to manage the risk of hearing impediment borne out of workplace noise. “Hazardous noise can destroy the ability to hear clearly and make working safely more difficult,” Mr. Watson said.
Statistics revealed that from years 2008 to 2011, an estimated 10,753 claims (valued at $171 million), resulted from workplace hearing loss.
“Hazardous noise can destroy the ability to hear clearly and make working safely more difficult,” Mr. Watson said. This has become a challenge for the NSW WorkCover Scheme. It recognises the fact that finding funds to enhance safety measures is an enormous challenge.
The damage to hearing will only surface after a number of years and this is usually irreversible. Exposure to impulse noise such as firearms, explosive powered nail guns, and stamping presses can do a lot of damage to one's ability to hear.
To offer some consolation, through its Small Business Rebate Program, WorkCover NSW is doling out rebates at a maximum $500, to fund the installation of safety improvements.
The Australian Standard AS/NZS 1269.1:2005 Occupational Noise Management is a practical guide document that will help in measuring and assessing noise emission. It is a code of practice to control the noise and mitigate hearing loss at work. This guide also identifies noise hazards and thus helps in monitoring the risks associated with workplace noise.
Inspectors in WorkCover NSW can offer their services to give advice to organisations regarding the 101 of managing noise to stop hearing loss in the workplace. They can also suggest responsible individuals who can help manage noise hazards.
Warrnambool Lacks Diligence
Business organisations in Warrnambool failed to address the workplace safety after some 130 breaches that were discovered by WorkSafe.
Inspectors audited 105 workplaces in the area and issued memoranda of 127 improvement notices urging the businesses to correct safety practices. Improvement notices referred to some matters that include storing of dangerous goods/safeguarding, equipment maintenance and unsafe work platforms. On the other hand, the remaining 27 breaches that were reported, are believed to be fixable by the employers themselves. The inspectors likewise issued two notices that reports insufficient RTW planning for injured workers.
“It was disappointing that a high number of notices that were issued. But businesses are now in a far better position to address and improve health and safety matters. More can always be done to make workplaces safer and to prevent injuries from happening. We urge businesses to continue reviewing practices, identifying hazards, assessing risks and fixing problems.” said WorkSafe Chief Executive Denise Cosgrove.
Approximately 1,170 reported work injuries occurred in the Warrnambool region. Claims exceeded $24 million costing treatment, rehabilitation, and wages to be paid.