Noise is a serious hazard in many workplaces. Over time, if exposure to noise from machinery, processes, and equipment is not properly eliminated or controlled, it may cause permanent hearing loss in workers.
Exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace, may also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication, and contribute to accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear moving equipment, other workers, and warning signals.
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on quality of life for workers and their families. In 2006, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) estimated that the average cost of equipment (a set of hearing aids and batteries) for workers with noise-induced hearing loss, can reach $11,000 every four years, payable from the time the claim is approved until the death of a worker. In the case of a 55-year-old worker who lives until the age of 83, the equipment costs could reach $100,000. Workers with approved claims may also be eligible for future economic loss and non-economic loss awards, in addition to hearing aids and batteries.
The intent of the amended noise requirements is to ensure that the hazards associated with the exposure of workers to noise are eliminated or properly controlled.