Workplace Safety: Noise Regulation

As of July 1st 2016 Ontario made changes to Noise Regulation. These new changes are the OH&S Act Noise Regulation 381/15.

These changes affect the industrial and mining workplaces and outline the following regulations:

1.Noise exposure must be limited

The maximum exposure is 85 decibels over an 8 hour shift

2.Hierarchy of Controls

Employers must put controls in place to limit workers exposure to noise. For example, engineering controls, work practices, and/or PPE.

Employers must ensure proper PPE is being used when other controls are not available.

3.Training & Instruction

Proper training and instruction must be given to all employees. This includes: limitations, proper fitting inspections, maintenance, and cleaning/disinfecting of devices.

Noise Regulation Controls

There are different types of controls employers can implement to help keep workers safe.

They include:

Engineering Controls – modifying or replacing equipment to reduce the noise hazard

Examples of Engineering Controls include:

  • Choosing low-noise tools and machinery
  • Monitoring and lubricating machines and equipment
  • Placing a barrier between the noise source and the employee
  • Enclosing or isolating the noise source

Administrative Controls – changes in the workplace that reduce/eliminate worker exposure to noise

Examples of Administrative Controls include:

  • Operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed
  • Limiting the amount of time a worker spends at a noise source
  • Providing a quiet area for workers
  • Restricting worker presence to a suitable distance from any noisy equipment

In addition to adhering to the regulations above, employers can also use the ‘R-A-C-E’ System to keep their workplace compliant.

noise regulation

R-A-C-E System

Recognize: the noise hazard in your workplace

Assess: the level of risk

Control: the noise hazard by using hierarchy of controls

Evaluate: the effectiveness of the controls

What Can Employees Do to Keep Themselves Safe?

In addition to the steps above it is also VERY IMPORTANT that employees follow all company guidelines and wear the proper hearing protection if required by the employer.

Keeping everyone safe in the workplace is a combined effort on the part of the employer and employee. If regulations are followed then all employees can stay safe in the workplace at all times.

Information via The Staffing Edge