GUIDANCE NOTE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STANDARD THRESHOLD SHIFT IN THE MEDICAL SURVEILLANCE OF NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS
Title: Guidance Note for the implementation of standard threshold shift (STS) in the medical surveillance of noise induced hearing loss
Government Gazette Notice: GN R839 in GG 40412 of 15 July 2016
Effective date: 30 September 2016
The Chief Inspector of Mines issued the above-mentioned guideline for the implementation of standard threshold shift (STS) in the medical surveillance of noise induced hearing loss in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996 (MHSA).
“This guideline provides a framework to assist the employer of every mine to implement the STS principles in the mines medical surveillance system. Audiometry testing forms an integral part of the medical surveillance system and monitors the sharpness and acuity of an employee’s hearing over time, whilst simultaneously providing an opportunity for employers to educate employees about their hearing and the need to protect it. The STS principles aim to monitor with the intent to prevent noise induced hearing toss in line with the 2015 Milestones for the mining industry and thus the STS principles do not apply to compensation for industrial hearing loss and is not meant to replace Instruction 171 issued in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993.”
“So what” for my operation?
It is important for your operation to note that the medical surveillance process may be affected. As a result, the Occupational Medical Practitioner (OMP) must ensure that related processes such as baseline audiometry screening, routine and exit medical certificates of fitness, reporting of occupational illness, and incident reporting and investigation are reviewed and aligned with the new requirements.
A review of the Noise Code of Practice and supporting documents may be required to ensure that the changes in the STS are addressed. Such include mandatory reporting to the Department of Mineral Resources.