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.
The following factors must be considered:
- requirement for the device to attenuate noise to a level not greater than 85 dB(A)
- 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.
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.