There are many good and responsible reasons for an employer to provide audiometry testing for their workers. One of the best reasons is the legislative requirement set out by Alberta Occupational Health & Safety (OHS). Still, there are also moral and even cost-saving reasons to engage with this valuable service.
However, we still occasionally field questions about why audiometry testing is important and ways to avoid doing it. As a result, we put together a shortlist of the hidden costs of audiometry testing.
4 Results of Ignoring Audiometry Testing
Perhaps one of the most obvious hidden costs of employers shirking their audiometry testing is the human impact. Noise exposure is a cumulative effect, which means that the longer an individual works in an area with detrimental noise levels, the more their hearing will suffer. As a result, long term employees may suffer hearing loss prematurely.
Although this does show a lack of responsibility on the employer’s part, it can also lead to financial penalties if negligence can be proved. Did you know that offences related to safety violations are the only offences in Canada where offenders are guilty until they prove their innocence?
One of the biggest hidden costs of audiometry testing is the potential for heavy administrative fines from OH&S. Although there is a relatively small precedent for awarding large fines, employers need to remember what they may be on the hook for. Indeed, for a first-time offence, the fine is up to $500,000! With potential increases to the fine amount of up to $30,000 per day for continuing the offence, these fines carry a hefty burden.
There are also cumulative costs to consider when employers ignore the importance of audiometric tests. In this way, starting late can lead to significant grandfather costs. A good example would be a compressor room built without considering potential noise exposure. Implementing noise reduction materials or controls at a later date may cause significant downtime for staff and operations.
Larger Startup Costs
In a similar vein to the cumulative problems that affect worksites where noise exposure is not reduced, larger startup costs also play a role. Again, we can use our earlier example of a compressor room that needs modification. If the sound levels cannot be reduced around the worksite, it might be necessary to replace the compressor unit with a quieter version. Alternatively, it might be necessary to move the worksite away from the compressor to reduce workers’ exposure. Considering that these only refer to engineered controls, and not the administrative and PPE requirements, it is easy to imagine how these changes could quickly get out of hand.
To learn more about employer responsibilities in Alberta, consider the OH&S Safety Code. This resource provides information and guidance about all employer responsibilities to their worksite, employees, contractors and themselves. For fines, penalties and legal information, the OH&S Safety Act is the perfect resource.
Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests, to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today on (403) 399-4775.