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Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Under the guidelines of the Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Regulations set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer is required to implement a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) in the working environment to prevent any noise exposures at or above the 85 dBA noise rating limit.

This would require the employer to conduct noise assessments that conform to the guidelines of the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Regulations, as well as SANS 10083:2012 – The Measurement and Assessment of Occupational Noise for Hearing Conservation Purposes so as to identify and demarcate noise zones at intervals not exceeding two (2) years.


The Hearing Conservation Programme is aimed at the prevention of hearing loss and involves the implementation of the following measures;


a. Assessment and prediction of noise exposures in the workplace (new and existing),
b. The reduction of the 8 hour exposure rating level where it is expected to exceed the noise rating limit,
c. Prohibiting persons to enter a workplace where the noise rating limit is exceeded unless such a person is adequately protected,
d. The introduction of a Medical Surveillance Programme for all employees working in such an area,
e. The introduction of a follow-up assessment program to determine the actual exposure levels of workplaces that fall under point (a) and (b) above.

The Hearing Conservation Programme is also subject to review when one of the following points apply;


a. The implementation timeframe exceeds two (2) years,
b. There are reasons to believe that the previous risk assessment is no longer valid,
c. There are reasons to believe that the control measures implemented are no longer effective,
d. Technological or scientific advances allow for more effective control measures to be implemented,
e. There has been a significant change in:

    1. The workplace methods used,
    2. The type of work carried out,
    3. The type of equipment used to control exposures,
    4. The type of machinery, plant and equipment used in the initial process.

 


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