It is compulsory to arrange baseline hearing tests in prescribed workplaces, even if your workers are wearing hearing protection. All workers employed in a prescribed workplace for the first time must have a baseline hearing test within twelve months of commencing employment.

Who is responsible?

As the employer, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for all WorkCover WA audiometric tests.

A prescribed workplace exists when workers receive a personal noise dose of 90dB(A) or above during an eight hour day, or its equivalent, and where such a day is representative of the worker’s typical work practices (approximately equal to the noise from an idling heavy motor truck at a distance of one metre).

Any workers who receive noise above the peak exposure of 140dB(lin) on one or more occasions, even for a short time, will also require testing (approximately equal to the peak noise level from a mid to high calibre firearm at the user’s ear).

A baseline hearing test is the initial audiometric testing conducted to establish the worker’s baseline (reference) or overall Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH). The PLH of all subsequent tests will then be compared to the baseline PLH.

Note: A worker only requires a baseline hearing test once in his or her lifetime. Workers may request in writing a subsequent test annually from their employer.

A worker may be required to undergo a baseline full audiological assessment as part of the baseline hearing test, however this is only required by a relatively small percentage of the population.

It is your responsibility to arrange and pay for baseline and subsequent tests. Workers must be notified of the time and date of the test.

It is the joint responsibility of you and the worker to ensure that they are not exposed to more than 80dB(A) for 16 hours immediately preceding the test (approximately equal to the noise of a vacuum cleaner at a distance of one metre).

Approved Audiometric Officers

Only testers approved by WorkCover WA can conduct the tests as the testing environment and equipment must also meet stringent standards.

For a directory of service providers, see the Audiometric officers page.

All test results must be submitted to WorkCover WA, and a copy provided to the worker, within one month of the test taking place. The results are strictly confidential and access cannot be granted to anyone without the workers’ written consent.
If a subsequent audiometric test shows an increase in overall hearing loss of at least ten per cent from the baseline Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH), WorkCover WA will advise you and the worker of the requirement for further testing to determine if there is a compensable loss.

Note: Workers cannot claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss which occurred before March 1991.