Ontario’s Noise Reduction Standards Have Changed
Are you Ready?
by Brad Bradish, Manager, Injury Risk Management for SRG
In their efforts to make Ontario safer, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has announced new noise regulations, effective July 1, 2016. With most industrial settings already following MOL standards the most notable change to this regulation update is the inclusion of construction and farming sectors. There is also a minor change with how the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) on hearing protection is used.
As an employer that deals with loud noise at your facility, here’s what you need to know:
Under the old standard, the noise reduction rating on your hearing protection would be reduced 50%. The new standard is 50% reduction plus an additional 25% off that first reduction. According to MOL standards, your hearing protection must reduce the noise to at least 85 dba.
If your workplace is 95 dba and you had hearing protection on hand that was only 25 NRR, it would not be protective enough to meet the 85 dba limit.
95 dba – (25 NRR – 50% = 12.5 NRR – 25% = 9.375 NRR) = 85.6225 dba which is over the 85 dba limit.
However, if you upgraded your hearing protection to at least 28 NRR, you would meet/exceed the limit under the new standard.
95 dba – (28 NRR – 50% = 14 NRR – 25% = 10.5 NRR) = 84.5 dba which is under the 85 dba limit
Farming and construction will each have a difficult time applying these new changes to their industries because of the differences in their day-to-day operation. In manufacturing you are typically making the same widget day in and out and can do standardized testing for the noise level in that environment, making sure everyone has the appropriate hearing protection. In construction or farming one day could be much louder than the next, based on operations and equipment being used. The new regulation doesn’t discriminate on length of activity, only the level of noise. The proper level of hearing protection must be provided to ensure the employees are protected from the hazard.
Should you have any questions or for more information on this new MOL standard, please contact Brad Bradish, Manager, Injury Risk Management at bbradish@SRGhr.com or 1-888-381-3811 x236.