You have a legal duty to look out for the health and safety of all your workers. And that duty consists of many aspects, one of which you've surely 'heard' of...
I'm speaking about protecting your workers from noise induced hearing loss in the workplace.
You are legally required to take necessary measures to prevent it as much as possible, otherwise you could be facing hefty fines or even imprisonment! This is as according to the Noise-induced Hearing Loss Regulations No. 307 - 7 March 2003.
So it's best for you to take necessary steps to ensure you comply with the Regulations.
To start off, you should provide information and training to all employees.
Allow me to explain this step in more detail...
Information and Training
Attention! Health and Safety specialists face fines imposed by the DoL!
Recently, the Department of Labour (DoL) conducted over 190,000 impromptu health and safety inspections. It even shut down a company for failing to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
Employers have been warned that there will be many more inspections.
Don't let them show up at your door unannounced.
According to the Noise-induced Hearing Loss Regulations, you are, as an employer, required to create a training programme for all employees who may be exposed to noise levels at or above 85 decibels. This should be done after you have consulted with the Health and Safety Committee and the Health and Safety Representative for that particular work area.
Your training programme should include the following:
· The content, and scope, of the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations;
· The potential sources of noise exposure, as well as the potential risks associated with exposure to noise;
· The measures which the employer is taking to protect employees from the negative effects of noise exposure;
· The precautions which employees must take to protect themselves from noise exposure. For example, by using earmuffs;
· The correct use and maintenance of hearing protectors;
· The importance for medical surveillance and its benefits;
· The 'hearing-conservation limit' (85 decibels) as well as what it means (ie. That noise levels over the limit can have negative effects on hearing); and
· The procedures for reporting and replacing faulty hearing protectors;
This training should be provided before placing an employee in an area with high noise levels.
Refresher courses should be conducted annually or as recommended by the Health and Safety Committee and Representative.
Only a 'competent' person, in other words a person with enough relevant experience and knowledge around the work conducted by the relevant employees should conduct the training.
Also, you should make an effort to provide instruction and training to other people, other than the relevant employees, who may be exposed to high noise levels in your workplace.
And finally, don't forget to keep records of all this training.
Is your construction site compliant with all
of the newly amended construction regulations?
When the DoL comes to inspect every last detail of your site, will you be confident that everything from your scaffolding to your Health and Safety file is compliant with ALL of it's regulations?
Now you can be!