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Occupational noise-induced hearing disorder, which includes hearing loss, is one of the most common occupational diseases experienced by workers in Malaysia, according to Dr. Rosli Rahim, an Occupational Health Doctor at Pusrawi Hospital, in his talk on “Hearing Loss Prevention” held at Malakoff Academy of Xcellence (MAX) on 18 October 2018, to create awareness on occupational health and safety at the workplace.
Based on his experience, the oil and gas industry records the highest number of hearing loss cases, especially affecting those working on offshore rigs, and are usually due to the workers’ irresponsible action of taking their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for granted. Another cause of hearing loss is the reluctance of those affected in getting the appropriate medical attention due to being in denial of their condition.
Dr Rosli stressed that audiometric tests must be carried out before the beginning of employment to determine one’s hearing baseline. This data must be recorded and kept by the employees for future reference. Subsequent audiometric test must be done at least once a year and the results are compared to the baseline to identify any hearing deterioration. This is important as hearing disorders not only cause the sufferers to lose the ability to hear, it also puts their lives in danger as they are less aware of their surroundings.
“Hearing loss prevention is a combined effort between the employers and employees as it can be avoided by taking the prescribed precautions,” he added. At the end of his talk, Dr Rosli urged employers to ensure a safe working environment for the employees and send them for regular check-ups. Meanwhile, employees were reminded to adhere to the health & safety rules and regulations such as wearing approved ear muffs or ear plugs when performing their tasks.
Malakoff’s Group HSSE takes great care in ensuring the health and safety of Malakoff’s 690 employees at site. Audiometric tests are carried out annually at site, with the last one held at Tanjung Bin Energy Power Plant on 15 August 2018.