Hearing Protection

Hearing loss due to exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace is a serious occupational illness. In some cases the damage is only temporary, but repeated exposure to excessive noise can cause permanent damage.

Sound levels are measured in decibels (dBA). Anything below 70dBA poses no risk. 85dBA is the approximate point when extended exposure can cause hearing damage. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) for noise are typically given as the maximum duration of exposure permitted for various noise levels.

What are the noise exposure limits in Canadian jurisdictions?

 Continuous Noise* Impulse / Impact Noise* 
JurisdictionMaximum Permitted Exposure Level for 8 Hours dB(A) Exchange Rate dB(A)+Maximum Peak Pressure Level
Maximum Number of Impacts
Canada (Federal)873--
British Columbia853140-
New Brunswick 853140-
Nova Scotia 853--
Price Edward Island853--
Newfoundland and Labrador 853--
Northwest Territories 85*****140100
Nunavut 85*****140-
Yukon Territories 85314090
+ When 3 dB exchange rate is used, generally there is no separate regulation for impulse/impact noise. The equivalent sound exposure level (Lex) takes impulse noise into account in the same way as it does that for continuous or intermittent noise.
** In Nunavut and Northwest Territories, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations reference a staged action plan based on the dBA exposure level (80, 85, and 90).
*** In both territories, the Mining Health and Safety Regulations reference 3 dBA. Please contact Northwest Territories and/or Nunavut for further information.

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