What Makes a Great Hearing Protection Policy?
A hearing protection policy can also be known as a hearing conservation policy, a PPE policy or a noise policy. Whichever name you choose it’s important that your hearing protection policy is effective. Hearing loss accounts for as much as 30% of all Workers Compensation Claims so hazardous occupational noise is worth paying attention to.
In the following we will blur the lines between policy and procedure. Dependent on your individual workplace you may wish to separate or combine the two.
It is important that any business with employee noise exposure has an effective hearing protection policy which is effectively utilised by the workforce.
The effectiveness of your hearing protection policy is directly related to several factors:
- The development.
- The policy content.
- The education.
- The enforcement.
Hearing Protection Policy Development
As with any policy, it’s extremely important that your employees and key stakeholders are involved and consulted during the development stage of your hearing protection policy. A lack of consultation often leads to policy failure and may even see you being non-compliant with the consultation requirements of the WHS/OHS Act.
Meet with your employees and advise them in advance of hearing protection policy changes or developments. Seek employee feedback and input in the early stages to ensure the policy in relevant, and use this time to overcome any resistance early on.
Hearing Protection Policy Content
The content of your hearing protection will vary from workplace to workplace, what may work perfectly in one may bet met with flat out rejection in another. Your policy should contain (at a minimum) the following elements;
- Formatting – The policy should be formatted correctly, with clear headers and footers containing business information, the location of the document within a management system, an introduction date and version control.
- Scope – who does the hearing protection policy apply to? Should it apply just to employees in a certain section? The entire workforce? Contractors? Visitors?
- Definitions – within your policy you should define words, phrases, titles and anything which is not immediately recognised by anyone within your workforce.
- Goal – your hearing protection policy should clearly outline the goal of the policy is, whether it be compliance with Acts and Regulations or exposure to a specific noise level.
- Action –What must those whom your policy applies to actually do to comply with the policy? What signing should they follow? Where is hearing protection issued? When is it replaced?
- Responsibilities – State who is responsible for the enforcement of the hearing protection policy and who is responsible for providing hearing protection.
- Non Compliance – State what happens to your employees, visitors, or contractors if they do not follow the policy.
There are other components which may form part of a hearing protection policy or procedure which may include; references, supporting documentation, records, etc. Each workplace is different and what is contained within each workplaces policy can vary.
Hearing Protection Policy Education
There is little point in having an excellent hearing protection policy if none of your employees, contractors or visitors know about it. Consider how you will educate those whom the policy covers. Your policy should be displayed in prominent areas and be part of your induction process. Also consider re-education; should you re-induct your workforce and regular contractors?
Hearing Protection Policy Enforcement
Policy like any rule is useless unless it is enforced. You must have your team leaders, supervisors and managers on side and leading by example. The policy is in place to minimise the risk to health and safety of everyone involved and non-compliance should be swiftly managed.
Hearing Protection Policy Development and Consultation
from $195 +GST
We can modify your existing Hearing Protection Policy/PPE Policy or develop an individual tailored policy from scratch.
- Is relevant to your individual workplace.
- Address’s key legislative requirements ensuring compliance.
- Is correctly formatted and includes all necessary information.
- Workforce policy development and roll out.
- Policy enforcement and employee non-compliance.
- How to best setup your policy or procedure within an existing management system or framework.