Ontario cracking down on noisy workplaces

Stronger regulations designed to protect workers from hearing loss come into force on July 1

The Ontario government is cracking down on noisy workplaces in the first significant overhaul of the province’s noise exposure limits in three decades.

“Noise-induced hearing loss is a serious and preventable occupational illness that impacts many of Ontario's industrial workers,” said Steve Peters, Ontario’s Minister of Labour. “Our government is taking action to protect these workers by making the first significant overhaul of the noise exposure limits in 30 years.”

Lower overall daily exposure to noise will help prevent hearing loss in workers, which led to an estimated $100 million in compensation costs being paid out by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) over the past decade, the province said.

The changes to the industrial noise requirements will come into effect on July 1, 2007. They are expected to strengthen worker safety by:

•reducing Ontario’s noise exposure limit from 90 decibels to 85 decibels; and

•introducing it as a time-weighted average exposure limit, which gives a more accurate assessment of the amount of noise a worker is exposed to.

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