Exposure to harmful levels of noise is a growing concern in many
workplaces. According to both the Ministry of Labour and WSIB
Ontario, occupational noise induced hearing loss has become one of
the most common - and most preventable - occupational
First, the Noise Regulation consolidates the
noise protection requirements set out in the regulations for
Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and
Gas-Offshore into a single comprehensive regulation.
Second, the Noise Regulation extends the noise
protection requirements contained in the pre-existing regulations
to all workplaces.
Under the Noise Regulation, employers are required to take all
measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect their
workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels. Subsumed in this
broad requirement are several more specific requirements for
employers must limit the exposure of workers who are exposed to
noise to a maximum time-weighted limit of 85 decibels over an
eight-hour shift (as calculated by the Noise Regulation);
employers must put in place measures to reduce workers'
exposure based on a "hierarchy of controls," which could
include engineering controls, work practices, and the use of
personal protective equipment in the form of hearing protection
employers who provide hearing protection devices must provide
adequate training to employees who use those devices; and
employers must, where practicable, post a clearly visible
warning sign at every approach to an area where the sound level
regularly exceeds 85 decibels.
It would be prudent for employers to consider whether their
workplaces will be impacted by this Noise Regulation and, if so, to
take steps now to ensure compliance by July 1, 2016.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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