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Occupational Noise Exposure

Occupational Exposure to Noise


Have you ever had an annoying ringing in your ear, spontaneous headaches, or trouble sleeping?

The culprit could be exposure to noise at your workplace. In fact, nearly all workers are exposed to noise at their workplace, but depending on the frequencies of the noise, sound pressure level, and duration of noise exposure; various physiological responses and harm to a worker can occur. These risks include hearing loss, cognitive impacts, sleep disturbance, and mental health effects.

Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 381/15, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, requires that an employer must protect workers from hazardous sound levels. Under most circumstances, these limits are defined as the following:

Allowable Noise Level (dBA) Maximum Permitted Daily Duration (hours) Comparable Noise Level (Industrial) Comparable Noise Level (Residential)
85 8 Milling Machine City Traffic
88 4
91 2 Train Food Blender
94 1
97 0.5 Compressor Lawn Mower
100 0.25

Rubidium Environmental’s team has established themselves as experts in the field of noise exposure assessments, often referred to as Noise Monitoring Surveys. These assessments involve the use of a personal dosimeter to measure the noise that a worker is exposed to in the workplace. The use of a personal dosimeter allows the measurement of the unique noise that a worker is exposed to, based on the tasks that are completed, machinery used, and workspace. If it is desirable to measure the noise resulting from a single process or a single area, a combination of noise dosimeters and Class 1 Noise Meters can be set up to measure this noise. These measurements can be augmented to create a “noise map” of the facility, allowing operators to understand the sources of noise, as well as exceptionally loud areas.

If workers are exposed to excessive noise as defined in O.Reg 381/15, described above, the employer is required to take action to mitigate worker’s exposure to noise. Most often, recommendations are made to make hearing protection available to workers, post signage to warn that an area is subject to excessive levels of noise, or implement engineering controls to reduce noise emissions from processes. These options are recommended based on the unique characteristics of the facility and workers. Rubidium Environmental’s team of engineers can perform expert noise exposure assessments for your facility, and provide solutions that will get you back to business.