Australian Noise report. Is anyone listening?

Safe Work Australia has released a very important report called “Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Australia “.

The report confirms many of the challenges faced by OHS professionals. There is, among others,

  • An over-reliance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Noise is not taken seriously
  • Effective noise control is undervalued
  • Small and medium-sized companies pay less attention to the hazard
  • Noise control is seen as expensive
  • As hearing damage cannot be repaired, it is seen as inevitable

The report provides a detailed profile of NIHL and many will find the report an invaluable to gaining more attention to control measures in workplaces but just as mental health is both an occupational AND public health matter, so noise is affecting our private lives just as much as it is in our work lives.

As with many government safety reports, change is likely to come not from the report itself but how the media, the community and the OHS professions use the information to affect change.

Kevin Jones

3 thoughts on “Australian Noise report. Is anyone listening?”

  1. Being time poor and impatient, I skipped to Chapter 6: Conclusions and implications for policy, before I skimmed the rest of the document.
    I think that we have to appreciate that this is the evidence base that tells us what the barriers to effective change in managing risks from noise are. It recognises that the problems are largely attitudinal.
    I was dispirited to read however, that the finger is on \”management commitment\” – that elusive factor that will, apparently be the solution to all occupational health and safety issues.
    Now, please tell me, where is the evidence that shows me clearly what management commitment is, how we recognise it, how we cultivate it and sustain it. I\’ve seen a few things purporting to be management commitment, so far haven\’t seen safety nirvana.

  2. A colleague of mine who specialises in occupational noise control has asked for the following comment to be posted:

    \”I have several concerns about the report Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss In Australia 2010.

    – A quick look through the report suggests that it adds nothing new to the body of knowledge that\’s been readily available in Australia and elsewhere for many years.

    – The fact that it\’s only available as a PDF means that its distribution will be severely limited – I can\’t see many people either printing the report\’s 207 pages or sitting at a computer to read it.

    – How much did the report\’s entire project cost Australian Taxpayer?

    Occupational noise is only one of the causes of modern day noise-induced hearing loss. Taxpayer\’s money would have been better used to fund a program that would concentrate on teaching young Australians about the effects of noise induced hearing loss. Instead valuable resources were used to cherry-pick an area that\’s already been studied for many years.\”

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