In order to manage risk under the WHS Regulations, a duty holder must:
- identify reasonably foreseeable hazards that could give rise to the risk
- eliminate the risk so far as is reasonably practicable
- if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk – minimize the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by implementing control measures in accordance with the hierarchy of control
- maintain the implemented control measure so that it remains effective
- review, and if necessary revise, risk control measures so as to maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a work environment that is without risks to health and safety
This Code provides guidance on how to manage the risks of hearing loss associated with noise by following a systematic process that involves:
- identifying sources of noise that may cause or contribute to hearing loss,
- if necessary, assessing the risks associated with these hazards
- implementing risk control measures
- reviewing risk control measures.
CONSULTING YOUR WORKERS
Consultation involves sharing of information, giving workers a reasonable opportunity to express views and taking those views into account before making decisions on health and safety matters.
Section 47 – The WHS Act requires that you consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for you who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a work health and safety matter.
Section 48 – If the workers are represented by a health and safety representative, the consultation must involve that representative.
Consultation with workers and their health and safety representatives is required at each step of the risk management process. By drawing on the experience, knowledge, and ideas of your workers you are more likely to identify all hazards and choose effective control measures.
You must also consult your workers when proposing to make any changes that may affect their health and safety, for example when planning to buy new machinery or equipment.
Health and safety representatives must have access to relevant information such as noise exposure data and potential control options. If you have a health and safety committee, you should engage the committee in the process as well.
CONSULTING, CO-OPERATING AND CO-ORDINATING ACTIVITIES WITH OTHER DUTY HOLDERS
Section 46 – The WHS Act requires that you consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with all other persons who have a work health or safety duty in relation to the same matter, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Sometimes you may share responsibility for a health and safety matter with other business operators who are involved in the same activities or who share the same workplace. In these situations, you should exchange information to find out who is doing what and work together in a co-operative and co-ordinated way so that all risks are eliminated or minimized as far as reasonably practicable.
For example, if you own or manage an on-hire business and your workers work at other workplaces then you must consult the host business so far as is reasonably practicable to determine if your workers could be exposed to hazardous noise and agree on what you each will do to control any associated risks.