In full, the statement goes, ‘The Health and Safety Executive is developing a strategic programme to improve the control of noise with the aim of eliminating cases of severe occupational noise-induced hearing loss by 2030.’
So how are we going to achieve that without spending time and money doing it (well not much anyway)?
This is not new news, and in fact was stated in an Explanatory Note to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, in 2005. but I think it is sometimes a little forgotten. When I ask in my seminars whether people think this is achievable, then normally the answer from the majority of the room, is ‘No’. This somewhat misses the point and the answer should be a resounding ‘Yes!’ Why? Because there is no tool missing from the toolbox with which to do it – the real question should be how do we use these tools to solve this problem?
This is where we can be clever and there is a trick you can use to make sure that you don’t burden yourself with a major task.
The trick involves using hearing screening tests (health surveillance) to maximum effect. This is how it goes:
Each person you employ should have a ‘baseline’ hearing test, preferably on the day they start, but as soon after if not. Then you should re-test them after 6 or 12 months (depending on the risk assessment). If this re-test shows a deterioration in hearing at 4kHz, then you know you have a problem.
The beauty of this approach is that, so long as you are doing most things right, you will only ever get a small hand-full of these cases. This means that you only must deal with these few people to stop them from going deaf and that is simple! Better hearing protection, more assessments in their area, increased hearing testing and a focus on the tasks in their area for noise control. You no longer have to look at the whole factory or all the staff (you still need to comply with all the regulations here anyway!). You are just going the extra mile for these susceptible individuals. If you can stop their hearing declining, you can meet the HSE target!
So, you see it is quite possible to meet the HSE’s aim for 2030 and it doesn’t even need to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. If you think this is an interesting approach and want to find out more about how to do it, then we base most of our training on this concept, whether you come to one of our free seminars or a competent person’s course, you will see more of how to save time and money AND achieve great results.
Visit www.castletrainingacademy.com/noise-at-work to book something and get you on the road to saving people’s hearing and making your organisation a safer place to work.