Under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), there have been a number of noise regulations for specific industries, but there had not been comprehensive noise regulations. A new regulation, Regulation 381/15: Noise was approved last month which will extend the noise protection requirements to all workplaces covered by OHSA. Previously, noise was regulated within the Regulations for Industrial Establishments, Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants, and Regulations for Oil and Gas-Offshore.
This new Noise Regulation, coming into effect on July 1, 2016, will cover workplaces including construction projects, health care facilities, schools, farming operations, and amusement parks. Employers will have a duty to protect workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels, with workers to be limited to a maximum time-weighted exposure of 85 decibels over an eight-hour shift. Protective measures could include engineering controls, work practices, and hearing protection devices. If hearing protection devices are used, the employers also have a duty to provide adequate training and instruction on that device.
Before this comes into effect, employers should ensure that they have appropriate measures in place to protect workers’ from exposure to such hazardous sound levels. It should also be noted that for employers in an industry where noise was previously regulated by the Regulations for Industrial Establishments, Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants, or Regulations for Oil and Gas-Offshore, the noise protections in those regulations have been revoked, and they are now included in the new Noise Regulation.
Written with the assistance of Kira Misiewicz, articling student.