• Issued: December 5, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: December 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Effective July 1, 2016, Noise Regulation (O. Reg. 381/15) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) replaced the noise protection requirements set out in the regulations for Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and Gas-Offshore and extends noise protection requirements to all Ontario workplaces.

Additional workplaces covered by this regulation include, but are not limited to:

  • construction projects
  • health care facilities
  • schools
  • farming operations
  • fire services
  • police services
  • amusement parks

The intent of the Regulation is to ensure that workplace exposures to noise are eliminated or properly controlled to protect workers from noise-induced hearing loss. It provides all workers with the same level of protection under the OHSA to a common hazard, noise.

Purpose

This guideline is intended to provide information and assistance to Ontario’s constructors, employers and other workplace parties in complying with the Noise Regulation (O. Reg. 381/15) under the OHSA. It is not intended to replace the Regulation and reference should always be made to the official version of the Regulation. In any case where the guideline may differ from the Regulation, the regulatory provisions prevail.

Noise - Hazard and Health Effects

Noise is a serious health hazard. Over time, if worker exposure to noise from machinery, processes, and equipment is not properly eliminated or controlled, it may cause permanent hearing loss, a leading cause of occupational disease in Ontario workplaces.

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. Further, hearing loss can have a significant impact on quality of life for workers and their families.

In addition to the negative health effects for workers, noise-induced hearing loss is costly for Ontario’s health and safety system. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, between 2009 and 2014, the annual costs for noise-induced hearing loss claims for all sectors exceeded $50 million per year. During this period, the costs of noise-induced hearing loss claims for the construction sector alone were close to $7 million dollars per year.

There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss; however it can be prevented by eliminating or controlling noise exposures.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.