One of our client’s injured workers has been offered over $20k for a hearing loss claim. I’m wondering how they could have managed this better and what we can learn.
Clearly you need to begin with noise level testing at all workplaces, and then undertake health monitoring for all employees. Pre-employment hearing testing is critical. You also need to consider appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). It probably would also be a good idea to have a tool-box talk about incident notification as well, just to reiterate the point that if someone is having problems with something at work, whether it’s a near miss, hazard, incident or injury, they need to report it.
Consider the following in your workplace/s
- Assess noise at all of the sites.
- Review & provide appropriate PPE and ensure that the PPE is worn.
- Arrange audiometric testing for employees to measure their starting point (and get it checked at least every 2 years).
- Record and monitor results of audiometric testing – if there’s a significant decrease, we’ll need to arrange an audiological examination.
- Review induction process – ensure that audiometric testing is undertaken within 3 months of commencing employment.
- Review procedure documents related to PPE and to noise management.
- Reiterate the need to report near misses, hazards, incident and injuries.
Hearing loss claims are difficult to deny and can come at a significant cost – you inherit an employee’s hearing loss as soon as you employ them. If it deteriorates in any way under your employ, you can pay for an entire working life of noise induced deafness.