Issues such as compliance, safety in the curriculum and workplace bullying.
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Do you need to comply?
Yes – under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety (Noise) Regulations 2004 (Vic.).
Conditions of compliance
The primary objectives of the Occupational Health and Safety (Noise) Regulations 2004 (Vic.) are to reduce the incidence and severity of hearing loss resulting from excessive exposure of employees to noise in workplaces; and to require employers to assess and control risk arising from exposure of employees to noise in workplaces.
‘Excessive Noise’ is defined as that which exceeds the regulatory noise exposure standard in Victoria of 85dB(A) over an eight hour period for continuous noise (represented as 85dB(A) Laeq8h) or 140dB(lin) for impulse noise.
If you have to comply, what do you have to do?
To comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety (Noise) Regulations 2004 (Vic.), your school must ensure as far as practicable that the design and construction of new buildings and any new plant/equipment to be used in the workplace prevents employees from being exposed to noise levels which are in excess of the exposure standard. In addition, in order to reduce the noise risk, your school or college is required to carry out the steps in the following risk management process:
- Identify all the potentially hazardous noise sources existing in a particular curriculum area
- Assess an employee’s exposure to noise where it is likely that it will exceed the exposure standard
- Control the risk to eliminate or reduce as far as practicable any staff member’s exposure to excessive noise
- Review on a regular basis the effectiveness of the controls which have been implemented
- Arrange audiometric testing for all employees working in areas where hearing protection devices are required to control noise exposure
- Provide training to all personnel affected by the school’s noise control strategy.
- Prior to and throughout the process of hazard identification, risk assessment and control, consultation must occur with all personnel likely to be affected by the noise control strategy, including any relevant Health & Safety Representative (HSR).
- Each step in the process must be documented
- All employees who have received appropriate training in the use and maintenance of control measures must, to the extent that the employee is capable, use those control measures in accordance with that training.
The areas of a school where excessive noise levels are typically found include:
- Instrumental music
- Technology studies (especially Woodwork, Metalwork and Automotive)
- Sport and Physical Education (starting pistol)
- Building and Grounds maintenance.
What are the consequences if you don’t comply?
You could be penalised under breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.).
Who will help you?
Independent Schools Victoria contact:
Director, School Services
Ph. 03 9825 7211
School Services Advisor
Ph. 03 9825 7275
Links and Resources
Vic DET: Noise Resources (contains links to Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice and other support material)