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July 1, 2016: All Ontario employers must comply with new noise regulation

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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
  • schools
  • 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.