The importance of workplace vision and hearing screening in the transport industry

By Michael Ter-Berg CEO Thomson Screening - 02.12.2021 - Guest article

Employment vision and hearing exams help ensure that employees and prospective employees can perform their jobs safely and adequately

The challenge for employers is the cost and time needed to comply with requirements. A significant minority of employees will have impairments affecting their suitability for particular jobs or will require specific support to do the job safely. For example, in the USA approximately 13% of all Transportation and Warehousing workers and 27% of all Utilities workers have hearing difficulty.*

What is Vision and Hearing screening and how do these differ to full clinical testing?

Screening is standard and quick to administer tests that swiftly identify individuals needing to be seen by clinicians for full Optometric and Audiological assessments. Screening is much cheaper (and faster) than full exams with savings to the employer of 75% or more. This is because the vast majority of employees/prospective employees will see and hear at the levels required for the job. And regular screening delivers similar savings and does not tie up senior clinician time (and cost) in ongoing testing.

Vision and Hearing Screening in the transport industry

Employing people with the appropriate eyesight and hearing for the job is both a legal and ethical requirement for employers. And the word ‘transport’ covers many types of occupations. A legal definition* is ‘any industry, business, or establishment operated for the purpose of conveying persons or property from one place to another whether by rail, highway, air, or water, and all operations and services in connection therewith; and also includes storing or warehousing of goods or property, and the repairing, parking, rental, maintenance, or cleaning of vehicles’.

"A lorry driver will need vision and hearing appropriate for his/her role…but so will other employees working close to the operations of the driver, for example, in a warehouse, construction site or factory.

Also, poor eyesight is not just whether the person can see properly close up or at a distance. It also includes whether the person can see color, something an easy to administer color vision screening can identify in a couple of minutes."

However the screening is delivered, it means that time and money will be saved referring on just those people that need a full optometric or audiological assessment.There are a number of options available as to who performs screenings. Employers can use clinicians, but this is expensive because the vast majority of prospective and current employees will pass (and clinicians are in short supply).

Also, available is software such as WorkScreener, which enable administrative staff to quickly deliver full screenings managed by the software with all administration and reporting also automated.

Michael Ter-Berg

CEO - Thomson Screening Services - Michael Ter-Berg is CEO and co-founder of Thomson Screening. University developed software for managing vision and hearing screening. Michael has an MSc from and is a Sloan Fellow of London Business School.

1. Kerns E, Masterson EA, ThemannCL, Calvert GM. (2018).Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposurewithin U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of IndustrialMedicine, 61, 477-491.