Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Hearing protection

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Employers have a statutory obligation to provide personal hearing protection as necessary for any person working in, or near, a noisy environment.

The need for hearing protection shall be assessed by a noise survey in potential noise hazard areas. Noise surveys can be arranged by UWA Safety and Health.

Guidance is available in AS/NZS1269 Occupational noise management, and AS/NZS 1270 Acoustics - hearing protectors

Types of hearing protection

The following hearing protection devices are commonly available:

  • disposable hearing protection device - a hearing protection device formed by packing a suitable material into or around the ear canal. Disposable hearing protection devices are discarded after a single wearing
  • earplug - a hearing protection device, other than disposable hearing protection devices, that is inserted into the ear canal
  • ear canal cap - a hearing protection device that covers the ear canal entrance and is held in place by a headband
  • earmuff - a hearing protection device that covers the entire ear and is held in place by a suspension system
  • helmet - a hearing protection device that covers the ears and an appreciable part of the head
  • suspension system - a device that holds the hearing protection device in proper position on the wearer's head. A suspension system may be a headband, a neckband or a safety helmet.

Selection

The following factors must be considered:

  • requirement for the device to attenuate noise to a level not greater than 85 dB(A)
  • weight
  • clamping force of earmuffs, and ear canal caps
  • suitability for use with other personal protection equipment such as helmets or goggles
  • acceptability to the wearer.

Marking

The following information shall be marked on every hearing protection device, except earplugs for which the information shall be on their storage container or on a nameplate securely attached to the container:

  • name or registered trade name or mark of the manufacturer
  • product identification or catalogue number
  • directions to indicate how the hearing protection device has to be worn if it cannot be worn symmetrically; for example, 'top', 'front'.

No hearing protection device shall be used unless it complies with current relevant Australian Standards and carries the AS compliance mark.