OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: June 30, 2007
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Part 16 Noise

Highlights

The noise exposure limits in this Part are based on a 3 decibel (dB) exchange rate. This means that when the sound energy level is doubled (an increase of 3 dB), the corresponding exposure time is halved.

  • Section 217 requires employers to ensure that new or renovated work sites, new work processes, or new equipment brought into a workplace achieve a noise level of 85 dBA or as low as reasonably practicable.
  • Section 219 requires employers to do a noise exposure assessment if workers are, or may be, exposed to noise at a work site in excess of 85 dBA Lex. An Lex measurement averages a worker’s total exposure to noise over the entire workday and adjusts it to an equivalent 8-hour exposure. Noise must be measured in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA) noise measurement standard.
  • Section 221 requires employers to develop a formal noise management program if workers are exposed to excess noise at a work site. The section lists the mandatory components of the program. (Section 8 of the OHS Regulation requires that the program be in writing and available to workers.)
  • Section 223 presents the requirements for audiometric testing. Workers must provide their medical history when audiometric testing indicates a significant change in hearing ability. This recognizes that factors other than workplace exposure to noise can contribute to hearing loss. To ensure medical information remains confidential, only the person who performs the audiometric tests may retain medical history and test records.