As an employer, you have a general duty to make your workplace safe, as well as specific duties in relation to hazards such as noise.
You must ensure that your employees are not exposed to noise that exceeds the exposure standard.
To do this, you must first try to eliminate the source of the noise.
If it's not reasonably practicable to eliminate the source of the noise, you must reduce noise exposure, as far as reasonably practicable, in the following order:
- use quieter plant or processes, or use engineering controls
- use administrative controls
- provide hearing protectors.
You must review (and, where necessary, revise) your risk controls if things change, if there is a report of hearing loss in the workplace, or at the request of a health and safety representative.
You must also consult employees and health and safety representatives when identifying hazards and deciding on control measures. For more information, see consultation.
If you are uncertain about whether the noise exposure standard is being exceeded in your workplace, you must carry out testing and make a determination, as described in the regulations.
If an employee needs hearing protection to reduce their exposure below the standard, you must provide audiometric testing within three months of when they start the work, and at least every two years. You must also provide testing upon a reasonable request by the employee's health and safety representative.
Where hearing protectors are required you must clearly identify by signs or labelling when and where the protectors are to be worn.
If your worker has a work-related injury or illness, you have duties under the Victorian workers compensation legislation, one of which is to ensure their safe return to work. The employer's obligations include:
- appoint a return to work coordinator,
- develop and implement a return to work plan
- support and monitor your worker when they return to work.