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Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)


Noise-induced Hearing Loss Regulations, 2003

8. Medical surveillance



1) An employer shall establish and maintain a system of medical surveillance for all employees exposed to noise at or above the noise-rating limit.


2) An employer shall ensure that the medical surveillance contemplated in subregulation (1) –
a) consists of a baseline audiogram which is recorded –
i) in the case of a new employee, before the employee commences employment or within 30 days of commencement of such employment; or
ii) in the case of all other employees in the employment of the employer, before 16 November 2003; and
iii) in accordance with the requirements of Instruction No. 171: Provided that the baseline audiogram conducted in terms of that instruction applies to that employee for the rest of his or her working career;
b) consists of a periodic audiogram which is conducted in accordance with SABS 083 and which, during the first three years of employment, is obtained at least annually and thereafter at intervals which may be extended to a maximum period of two years if no referral threshold shift is evident: Provided that –
i) employees working in, or required to enter, noise zones where the noise exposure equals or exceeds an 8-hour rating level of 105 dBA shall undergo audiometric testing at 6-monthly intervals until it is established that no referral threshold shift is evident and thereafter the interval between tests may be extended to a maximum interval of one year; and
ii) employees who are regularly exposed to gunshots or other explosive events during their working day shall undergo audiometric tests at time intervals in accordance with subparagraph (i);
c) consists of an exit audiogram, conducted in accordance with SABS 083, which is obtained for every employee whose employment is terminated or who is permanently transferred to another workplace in respect of which audiometric tests are not required: Provided that an audiogram conducted within six months prior to termination of employment or transfer shall meet his requirement; and
d) is performed by a competent person: Provided that if it is impossible for the competent person to establish a baseline audiogram for an employee as contemplated in paragraph (a), the employee must be referred to an audiologist who may establish baseline-hearing levels by using other techniques, such as speech reception thresholds.


An employer shall ensure that –

a) copies of the audiograms contemplated in subparagraphs (2)(a), (3) and (c) are entered into the employee’s record of medical surveillance;
b) a copy of each audiogram contemplated in subparagraphs (2)(a) and (c) is given to the employee when he or she leaves the employment of that employer;
c) new employees provide him or her with their baseline audiograms, exit audiograms or most recent audiograms and the percentage of loss of hearing calculated in accordance with Instruction No. 171; and
d) in the case of an employee whose percentage loss of hearing has deteriorated by 10% or more since the baseline audiogram was recorded or an employee for whom no baseline audiogram is available but who has a 10% or more loss of hearing that is not obviously due to medical causes, and that has been confirmed by a repeat audiogram–
i) the relevant health and safety committee or the relevant health an! Safety representative is informed of the finding;
ii) the employee is retrained and re-instructed as contemplated in regulations 4 and 5 ;
iii) noise control measures are reassessed; and
iv) such hearing loss is reported to the provincial director, on form WCL1/2, as contemplated in regulation 6 of the General Administrative Regulations.