Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
A retrospective study was conducted on the Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) compensation claims from 1998 to 2008 to determine if the 2008 milestone agreed at the 2003 Mine Health and Safety Summit was achieved. The number and costs of NIHL compensation claims in different commodity sectors and workplaces were collated. A secondary analysis of the ages of employees compensated after 2008 was conducted. A complementary retrospective analysis of audiogram data investigated the percentage loss of hearing (PLH) shift in different homogeneously exposed groups and occupations at two gold mines. The compensation claims analysis indicated a significant decrease in NIHL claims from 1998 to 2008, but the milestone was not achieved. The reason may be either that claims have not been submitted timeously as required by Instruction 171 and that the current submissions are a result of pre-2003 noise exposure, or that employees who were baselined are still developing NIHL owing to ineffective hearing conservation programmes in place in the mining industry. On the basis of best practice for hearing conservation, recommendations are made for leading indicators in hearing conservation programmes and for reducing the risks of NIHL in order to achieve the 2013 milestone.
Keywords : hearing conservation; leading indicators; NIHL milestones.