Due to numerous concerns being voiced over mandated hearing testing PLEA contacted the PPD’s Industrial Hygienist for information and was told the following:
The hearing tests have come about as a result of testing done at the firing range which indicated that employee exposures exceeded the action level set by OSHA for noise.
Due to sound levels recorded at the range, federal guidelines mandate that three things must occur:
- Proper hearing protection equipment must be provided to employees, i.e., earplugs or earmuffs.
- Training on hearing protection must be provided on an annual basis.
- Hearing tests must be made available to affected employees on an annual basis.
Based on the above info as well as info provided by the Industrial Hygienist officers should be aware of the following:
- The hearing tests currently being given are not mandatory and the department will be coming out with a waiver form that will allow officers to opt out of the testing.
- The purpose of the hearing tests is not to disqualify officers for service.
- In the event an officer were to file an industrial injury claim for hearing loss they would then be sent to the Independent Medical Examiner (IME) to be evaluated.
- The intent of the testing is to provide a benefit to the officers in much the same way officers are allowed to obtain a periodic physical at city expense.
- The department will be coming out with an ENS shortly to address this issue.