As of July 1, 2016, all Ontario employers will be required to comply with a new workplace noise Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The new Regulation (381/15) replaces noise protection requirements currently in the regulations for Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and Gas-Offshore. Those regulations apply to many – but not all – Ontario employers.
The noise obligations will be new for employers with the following types of workplaces:
- construction projects
- health care facilities
- farming operations
- fire services
- police services
- amusement parks
The new Regulation’s basic requirements are:
- Employers must take “all measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels”
- The noise-protection measures must “include the provision and use of engineering controls, work practices” and, where required (and permitted), hearing protection devices
- In general, every employer must ensure that “no worker is exposed to a sound level greater than an equivalent sound exposure level of 85 dBA, Lex,8” (as calculated according to the Regulation) without requiring workers to wear hearing protection devices
- Hearing-protection devices are a secondary (not primary) noise-protection solution and will be permitted in only certain listed circumstances
- Employers must, where practicable, post a warning sign at every approach to an area where the sound level regularly exceeds 85
- Employers who provide hearing-protection devices must provide appropriate hearing-protection training to workers who use those devices.
The Regulation may be found online here.