Employers must provide free hearing tests to all call handlers

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Work Regulations Law must be updated to include free annual hearing tests for those workers in call-handling roles.

Call handling is a massive industry across both public and private sectors that requires prolonged and intense use of a handler’s sight and hearing. Over time there can be some deterioration in these senses, but only free eye tests are offered to employees, usually because their role involves the use of display screen equipment.

In a motion passed at the union’s annual conference in Brighton today (Monday 5th June), GMB is calling for change to the law to include free hearing tests for workers whose main role is to handle calls. Such testing would enable early detection of hearing loss and help avoid permanent or partial hearing loss.

Gavin Davies, GMB London Region Senior Organiser said:

"This motion is welcomed by our hard-working members who are handling calls daily in sectors that include the NHS, local councils and customer services across many different service providers.

“Hearing can deteriorate gradually or rapidly depending on the degree of noise exposure and the cause. Although commonly used now, headsets are a constant source of unregulated noise which can cause partial or total hearing loss. GMB welcomes the move to ensure that free regular hearing testing recognises the health risks associated with this work and how it must be monitored and resolved.”