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Measuring noise levels and workers' noise exposures is the most important part of a workplace hearing conservation and noise control program. These measurements help to identify work locations where there are noise concerns and to recognize and monitor a worker’s hearing related to their work exposure. This information helps determine appropriate noise control measures that need to be put in place. A hearing program also helps to provide workers with the knowledge they need and the hearing protection devices necessary to protect their hearing.
Employers have a duty to take every reasonable precaution to protect the occupational health and safety of persons at or near the workplace. This duty includes that workers are made familiar with the proper use of all safety features or devices, equipment, and clothing required for their protection. [OHS Act, S. 12(1)(a)(b)(e)]
Duties related to noise exposure and measurement of noise are covered in the Noise topic of this Guide.
This topic focuses on the development and implementation of a hearing program (also known as a hearing conservation program). The organization's program must include: [OHS General Regs., S. 8.8]
- Noise measurements.
- Education and training.
- Engineering noise exposure control.
- Hearing testing and follow-up.
- Posting of noise hazard areas.
- Personal hearing protection.
- Annual program review.
As soon as possible after a noise exposure measurement is done at the workplace, the employer must inform the affected workers of the results, and of the significance of the results as it relates to their risk of hearing loss. [OHS General Regs., S. 8.4(4)]
Employers are required to keep records of the education and training provided to workers, as well as the noise exposure measurements. [OHS General Regs., S. 8.10]
When it is not possible to reduce the noise exposure to or below any noise exposure limit, the employer must: [OHS General Regs., S. 8.7]
- Reduce noise exposure to the lowest level practicable.
- Establish a noise control and hearing conservation program.
- Post warning signs in the noise hazard areas.
- Give affected workers hearing protection that meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z94.2-14, Hearing Protection Devices - Performance, Selection, Care, as amended.
- Provide training to the affected workers about the use and care of the hearing protection.
- Maintain the hearing protection devices so that they continue to meet the requirements in the CSA standard.
- Make sure that hearing protection is worn properly by workers of the employer in noise-hazard areas.
- Monitor the effectiveness of control measures.
Performing a hearing test is one method an employer can use to confirm if workers are being affected by noise exposure.
- Make sure that workers who are exposed to noise that exceeds a noise exposure limit are given an initial hearing (audiometric) test after employment starts but not later than 6 months, and a hearing test at least once every 12 months after the initial test.
- Make sure the hearing tests are performed by an audiologist or a person who is certified to conduct audiometric testing.
- Pay for the hearing tests.
- Keep records of the initial and annual hearing test results for each worker.
- Keep records as long as the worker is employed by the employer.
- Keep the records confidential and do not release them to anyone without the written permission of the worker, or as otherwise required by law.
When working in forest operations, workers must wear approved hearing protection appropriate to the type of work to be performed. [OHS General Regs., S. 41.6(c)] Specifically, the employer must make sure that the worker wears the approved hearing protection equipment when operating a chain saw. [OHS General Regs., S. 41.8]
The employer must make sure:
- A traffic signaller has adequate eyesight and hearing to carry out their duties. [OHS General Regs., S. 50.4(e)]
- Signallers do not use headset receivers or other devices which may impair sight or hearing while signalling. [OHS General Regs., S. 50.8(1)]
Workers are responsible for:
- Working safely and following health and safety rules.
- Participating in all training so they have a full understanding of the need for their PPE and how to use it safely.
- Properly and consistently wearing required PPE, including wearing hearing protection in a posted noise area. [OHS General Regs., S. 8.7(2)]
- Not using headset receivers of other devices which may impair sight or hearing while signalling traffic. [OHS General Regs., S. 50.8(2)]
- Following all instructions, safe work practices and procedures, in the safe handling of the equipment.
- Participating in training, or hazard assessments, where appropriate.
- Using the equipment in a safe manner for the purpose for which it was designed.
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Part 8 NOISE
Section 8.4 Measurement of noise level
8.4 (1) Unless otherwise provided in this Part, where
(a) a worker of an employer is exposed to noise at the workplace of the employer in excess of any noise exposure limit; or
(b) an employer or worker of an employer has reason to believe that a worker of the employer may be exposed to noise at the workplace of the employer in excess of any noise exposure limit,
the employer shall cause the noise exposure of a worker at the workplace to be measured without delay.
(2) Where, in accordance with subsection (1), an employer causes a noise exposure measurement to be made at a workplace of the employer, the employer shall cause the measurement to be repeated without delay after a change in equipment or process affects the exposure level, or the exposure duration, at the workplace.
(3) Where, in accordance with subsection (1) or (2), an employer causes a noise exposure measurement to be made at a workplace of the employer, the employer shall ensure that
(a) the noise exposure measurement is performed in accordance with CSA Standard Z107.56-18, Measurement of Occupational Noise Exposure ; and
(b) the noise dosimeters and sound level meters used in the noise exposure measurement meet the requirements of ANSI Standard S1.25-1991, Specification for Personal Noise Dosimeters.
(4) The employer shall as soon as possible after a noise exposure measurement is conducted at a workplace of the employer inform affected workers of
(a) the results of the noise exposure measurement; and
(b) the significance of the results in terms of their risk of hearing loss at the workplace.
[EC2007-652, s. 1; EC2021-126, s. 8]
Section 8.7 Reduction of noise exposure, signs
8.7 (1) If it is not practicable for an employer to reduce the noise exposure of a worker of the employer at the workplace to or below any noise exposure limit, the employer shall
(a) reduce the noise exposure of the worker to the lowest level practicable;
(b) establish a noise control and hearing conservation program that complies with the requirements of section 8.8;
(c) post warning signs in the noise hazard areas;
(d) give to affected workers hearing protection that meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z94.2-14, Hearing Protection Devices - Performance, Selection, Care, and Use , as amended from time to time, provide training to the affected workers in the use and care of the hearing protection and maintain the hearing protection so that it continues to meet those requirements; and
(e) ensure that hearing protection required by clause (d), is worn properly by workers of the employer in noise hazard areas.
(2) Every worker in a posted noise hazard area shall wear hearing protection.
[EC2007-652, s. 1; EC2021-126, s. 9]
Section 8.8 Program - requirement
8.8 A noise control and hearing conservation program required under subsection 8.7(1) shall include provisions on
(a) noise measurement;
(b) education and training;
(c) engineered noise control;
(d) hearing protection;
(e) posting of noise hazard areas;
(f) hearing tests; and
(g) annual program review.
[EC2007-652, s. 1]
Section 8.9 Hearing test
8.9 (1) An employer shall ensure that workers of the employer who are exposed to noise in the workplace that exceeds a noise exposure limit are given
(a) an initial hearing test without delay after employment starts, but not later than 6 months after the start of employment; and
(b) a hearing test at least once every 12 months after the initial test if the worker continues to be employed with the employer.
(2) An employer shall ensure that hearing tests required under subsection (1) shall be administered by
(a) an audiologist; or
(b) a person who is certified to conduct audiometric testing.
(3) The employer shall be responsible for paying for hearing tests administered under this section.
[EC2007-652, s. 1]
Section 8.10 Records
8.10 The employer shall keep records of
(a) the initial and annual hearing test results for each worker, which shall
(i) be kept as long as the worker is employed by the employer, and
(ii) be kept confidential and not released to anyone without the written permission of the worker, or as otherwise required by law;
(b) the education and training provided to workers; and
(c) the results of noise exposure measurements taken under section 8.4.
[EC2007-652, s. 1]
Part 41 FOREST OPERATIONS
Section 41.6 Protective equipment
41.6 A worker shall
(a) at all times while on a logging worksite, wear an approved safety headwear and approved safety footwear;
(b) if likely to be exposed to eye injury due to flying particles or other harmful substance, wear safety screens or safety eyewear; and
(c) wear other protective clothing, such as safety pants and safety gloves or mitts, and approved hearing protection appropriate to the type of work to be performed.
[EC2021-126, ss. 37]
Section 41.8 Chain saw operation
41.8 When operating a chain saw, the employer shall ensure that the worker wears and the worker shall wear approved hearing protection, safety eyewear, safety pants, a hard hat and safety boots.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Part 50 TRAFFIC CONTROL
Section 50.4 Qualifications
50.4 The employer shall ensure that signallers
(a) are competent persons over the age of sixteen years who have been trained in, and have demonstrated an adequate knowledge of traffic control and signalling procedures;
(b) have such training as the Director may require;
(c) have a thorough knowledge of the regulations contained in this Part;
(d) are in good physical and mental condition;
(e) have adequate eyesight and hearing to carry out their duties;
(f) hold a certificate of training and shall produce proof of training at the request of an officer.
[EC225/91, s. 1]
Section 50.8 Head set receivers
50.8 (1) The employer shall ensure that signallers do not use head set receivers or other devices which may impair sight or hearing while signalling.
(2) A signaller shall not use head set receivers or other devices which may impair sight or hearing while signalling.
[EC225/91, s. 1]
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01
Section 12 Duties of employers
12. (1) An employer shall ensure
(a) that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect the occupational health and safety of persons at or near the workplace;
(b) that any item, device, material, equipment or machinery provided for the use of workers at a workplace is properly maintained, and is properly equipped with the safety features or devices, as recommended by the manufacturer or required by the regulations;
(c) that such information, instruction, training, supervision and facilities are provided as are necessary to ensure the occupational health and safety of the workers;
(d) that workers and supervisors are familiar with occupational health or safety hazards at the workplace;
(e) that workers are made familiar with the proper use of all safety features or devices, equipment and clothing required for their protection; and
(f) that the employer's undertaking is conducted so that workers are not exposed to occupational health or safety hazards as a result of the undertaking.
(2) An employer shall
(a) consult and cooperate with the joint occupational health and safety committee or the representative, as applicable;
(b) cooperate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations;
(c) provide such additional training of committee members as may be prescribed by the regulations;
(d) comply with this Act and the regulations and ensure that workers at the workplace comply with this Act and the regulations; and
(e) where an occupational health and safety policy or occupational health and safety program is required under this Act, establish the policy or program.
(3) An employer shall establish and implement as a policy, in accordance with the regulations, measures to prevent and investigate occurrences of harassment in the workplace.
[S.P.E.I. 2018, c. 45, s. 3]