Why Test Now?
One quarter of all workers in British Columbia are exposed to noise so loud that it can damage their hearing. Noise is the most common health hazard in industry.
The Workers' Compensation Board of B. C. (WCB) has a program to stop occupational hearing loss in British Columbia. As part of this, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require annual hearing tests for workers exposed to hazardous noise.
When noise exceeds regulated limits, employers must have an effective noise control and Hearing Conservation Program.
The regulated limit set by the WCB for noise exposure in B.C. is 85 decibels (dBA) for an eight hour period, or an equivalent noise exposure of 1 Pascal squared hour. For impact noises (for example, pile driving or hammering), a 135 dBA peak sound level cannot be exceeded (click here to see sound level examples).
The goal of a Hearing Conservation Program is to reduce the noise exposure of workers to a safe level and prevent occupational hearing loss. Hearing Conservation Programs must be in writing and must address:
- Noise measurement
- Education and training
- Engineered noise control
- Hearing protection
- Posting of noise hazard areas
- Hearing tests
- Annual program review