No, hearing testing is not mandatory for every business or every employee. However, we recommend that everyone undergo regular testing throughout their lives to ensure that any changes can be noticed and addressed without worsening or ignorance. With that being said, there are some exceptions to the rule where hearing testing is a legislative requirement of continued operation.

hearing-testing

When Is Hearing Testing Mandatory? 

As described in the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) legislation, many businesses will have to perform regular audiometric assessments. These businesses share the same qualities, which is that loud noises are an expected part of their operation. From sound technicians to welding shops and many companies in-between, this quality marks the minimum boundary upon which, at least, an assessment into the extent of the noise exposure of workers must be conducted. 


This investigation must be done by a qualified person and follow standards set out in the OHS legislation. By taking measurements throughout the company’s facilities at different locations and intervals, a reasonable conclusion about the level of noise can be reached. If the noise is found to exceed the baseline where hearing damage can occur (85 dBa), a hearing conservation program must be implemented. 

What Are the Requirements for a Hearing Conservation Program? 

The requirements for a hearing conservation program include annual hearing testing, policy and procedure formulation and the availability of hearing protection that reduces the volume to within acceptable limits. This helps ensure that employees have access to the tools and equipment they need to stay safe on-site and that the boundaries and expectations of the employer are clearly defined.


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today at (403) 399-4775.

Some companies prefer to approach their safety programs with reluctance and begrudging acceptance rather than with zeal, curiosity and excitement. These companies often struggle to see the value behind safety programs like PPE policies and hearing conservation programs. However, the reality is that these programs—when properly implemented—are extremely cost effective for all parties involved.


More evidence is coming out showing how properly implemented safety programs reduce the time it takes people to do their job and significantly reduces the likelihood of work-related accidents and the medical, insurance and operating costs associated with them. Below, we look at these and other reasons why hearing conservation programs and safety culture, in general, are more cost-effective than the alternative.


How Hearing Conservation Programs Save You Money

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Reducing the Likelihood of Hearing Loss

We begin with perhaps the most obvious benefit of safety and hearing conservation programs, which is the reduction of work-related accidents. With custom hearing plugs and properly designated “loud” areas, most employees will be at substantially less risk of hearing loss. The same is true for engineered controls on process equipment, like selecting less noisy equipment or adding barriers to reduce noise travel. 


Improving Efficiency

One of the most common gripes we hear is that “safety takes time that I don’t have” or something along those lines. However, the first step in developing a safety program—in Alberta, at least—is creating a job inventory to develop hazards assessments from. Can you think of a better way to itemize the duties that each employee performs in the run of their day? 

But why is having an itemized list of tasks relevant to efficiency? Because it gives you the ability to focus on a particular area, identify problems or process improvements, implement them and monitor their success. This is one of the most powerful tools available to employers. 


Let’s take a look at a brief example. Your workplace has a bench grinder, which is used once or twice a day by all your employees. You know that it requires hearing protection during use because of the manufacturer’s instructions, and you just can’t understand why none of your employees are willing to wear them. In examining the hearing conservation program, you realize that you’ve put the disposable ear plugs at the far end of the shop, making remembering or using them a struggle. Putting them above the bench grinder almost immediately removes the problem. 


Increasing Employee Retention & Job Outcomes

Labour is the highest cost to most businesses, and turnover rate only confounds that issue in companies that require skilled workers. The catch-22 of this reality is that skilled workers are almost always in demand, making retention a serious concern for these same businesses. Luckily, studies have shown that safety programs actually increase employee retention.

The reason this works is that safety programs show a clear commitment from employers to their employees. Plus, they create avenues for feedback and improvement on both sides of the fence through morning meetings, regular training and other communication platforms. 


Learn How Hearing Conservation Programs Can Save You Money Today

We make it easy to implement hearing conservation programs that work for the needs of your business, so contact us today to learn more about how we can help. 


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today at (403) 399-4775

Hearing protection and hearing testing are about much more than personal protective equipment (PPE) and good recordkeeping. These are legislative requirements set forth by provincial and territorial governments across Canada. They are also designed to protect employees and employers from hearing loss, damage and other issues.


The regulatory restrictions set forth by these governing bodies are informed by research and study of those who have suffered hearing loss related to their work. They look at the nominal noise levels at most workplaces and set standards for addressing businesses and locations where those noise levels are exceeded on a regular or repeated basis. Below, we look at what this legislation contains, as well as how to implement a hearing conservation program at your company.


The Decibel Level and Hearing Testing Requirements

The decibel level above which you should wear hearing protection is 85 dBA Lex. This is set out by the Occupational Health & Safety Code, though many safety organizations and regulators set the same cutoff limit. Section 217(1) of the code gives this direction and specifies the conditions where it does not apply. 


How to Determine the Noise Levels at Your Workplace

The part of the OHS code that deals with noise exposure is Part 16, and it describes all the requirements surrounding noise exposure in Albertan workplaces. Where it concerns hearing testing and noise exposure assessments, the legislation states that an employer must complete a noise exposure assessment if their workers are or may be exposed to noise exceeding the 85 dBA Lex limit set out above.


Noise Exposure Assessments, Hearing Testing & More

Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing helps businesses of all sizes with noise exposure assessments, hearing testing for affected employees and the implementation of hearing conservation programs. We are experienced, mobile and ready to help, so call today for more information or to book an appointment. 


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today at (403) 399-4775

As the need for audiometric testing steadily grows, many businesses are looking to find more information about this interesting topic. One of the questions on the top of their minds is, “what is the regulatory standard for hearing testing in the trades?” As long-time proponents of hearing health and testing, we couldn’t be happier to provide information on this, which we do below.


Provincial Legislation

Alberta

Within Alberta, all safety legislation falls under the purview of Occupational Health and Safety. Three documents offer information about this legislation and audiometric testing, namely the OHS Act, Regulation and Code. For specific information about noise exposure, refer to Part 16 of the Code. 

British Columbia

In British Columbia, five documents are essential to the understanding of audiometric testing and safety at the workplace. These documents are: 

For specific information about noise exposure, refer to the OHS Guidelines, Division 1 -Noise Exposure.

Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, health and safety standards operate under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013, together with The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations, 1985 and The Workers’ Compensation Miscellaneous Regulations. For links to downloadable versions of these resources, consult this page on their website. Information specifically related to audiometric testing can be found in POL 11/ 2012 of the policy and procedure manual. 

audiometric-testing

Related, Relevant Standards

Although government legislation is often the first place to look for information regarding safety information, it is far from the only location. Indeed, many regulations refer to additional standards and documents that further describe and explain the intention of certain standards. You can see a list of these documents related specifically to audiometric testing down below. 

ANSI Standards

  • S1.25-1991 (R2002), Specification for Personal Noise Dosimeters 
  • S1.4-1983 (R2006), Specification for Sound Level Meters
  • S1.43-1997 (R2002), Specifications for Integrating-Averaging Sound Level Meters
  • S3.6-2004, Specification for Audiometers 

CSA Standards

  • Z94.2-14, Hearing Protection Devices — Performance, Selection, Care, and Use
  • Z107.56-06, Procedures for the Measurement of Occupational Noise Exposure
  • CAN/CSA-Z321-96 (R2006), Signs and Symbols for the Workplace

IEC Standards

  • 61672-1 (2002), Electroacoustics – Sound Level Meters – Part 1: Specifications 
  • 61672-2 (2003), Electroacoustics – Sound Level Meters – Part 2: Pattern evaluation tests 


Talk to the Audiometric Testing Experts Today

Still want to know more about audiometric testing? We would be more than happy to answer all your questions and concerns, so contact us today!


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests, to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today on (403) 399-4775.    

The world of safety in Alberta is constantly evolving and changing. It seems like just yesterday there were protests and public outrage when new farming legislation came into law. And, with yearly reviews, exemptions and changes, there is always something new to discover within the industry.


However, even within the existing act, regulations and code, there is a fair amount to learn and understand. It is essential for both employers and employees to study and keep abreast of these changes, as they may affect work sites, policies, and procedures. Today, we will look at just one part of the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Code, namely schedule 3.


What is Schedule 3 in OHS Code?

Like all schedules in the OHS Code, Schedule 3 is at the very back of the blue book. It refers to three tables that all relate to noise within the workplace. Below, we will focus on Table 1: Occupational exposure limits for noise. For reference sake, however, it is worth noting that Table 2 provides guidance on the selection of hearing protection devices, and Table 3 describes permissible background noise conditions during audiometric testing.


How to Interpret Schedule 3, Table 1

Interpreting the first table in this schedule is key to understanding the building blocks of your hearing conservation program. It simply contrasts the decibel exposure level (dBA) with the maximum allowable exposure duration. As an example, at 82 dBA a worker can face exposure for up to 16 hours without permanent hearing damage. This is considered the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) for that noise level.


However, this steeply drops off as at 85 dBA the OEL is reduced to half that amount or just 8 hours. Additionally, it is relevant to note the requirements for hearing protection and a hearing conservation program over the 85 dBA mark. Once the noise levels reach 115 dBA or greater, there is no amount of worker exposure allowed.

hearing-conservation-program


How to Find the Right Hearing Protection

Once you have tested your worksite and determined what level of noise is present, the next step will be protecting your workers. This may involve changing processes, replacing equipment, introducing new policies or updating personal protective equipment requirements.


For help understanding employer’s responsibility to workers, effective and fast testing or other relevant concerns, contact us today!


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests, to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today on (403) 399-4775.    

Many steps go into building your company’s hearing conservation program. Below, we have given a brief overview of each step and how to approach them. For more information, consider reading this post from Work Safe Alberta that outlines the requirements in more detail.


The Steps to Building a Hearing Conservation Program

hearing-conservation-program

Educating Workers

The first step in your hearing conservation program is educating your workers. As an employer, you must ensure that your employees understand the dangers of excessive noise exposure, how to tell they are being exposed to loud noises, and what they can do to protect themselves from hearing loss. 


Measuring Sound Levels

Next, you must measure the sound levels in your workplace. To do this, a suitable individual, with sufficient training, must go through all worksites on your property and assess the level of noise. This involves using a properly calibrated, sufficiently sensitive audiometer per the requirements of CSA Standard Z107.56-06 Procedures for the Measurement of Occupational Noise Exposure. Typically, you begin with the areas where you must raise your voice to be heard and understood.


Posting Signage

After you identify the areas that require hearing protection, you must post signage declaring them as such. This signage must be placed at all entrances to the loud areas, as is suitably possible. 


Controlling Noise Exposure

Once you post signage for all employees and contractors, the next step is controlling the noise exposure of workers who must work in these loud locations. In some cases, this means limiting their time in the area, but it can also mean looking for quieter equipment or making hearing protection available.


Conducting Audiometric Tests

To track the level of hearing loss (If any) of your workers, you must conduct annual audiometric testing for all exposed workers. You must do this testing with trained, qualified and suitable testing equipment and technicians. The best hearing conservation programs hire outside audiometry testing companies to perform this task.


Making Hearing Protection Available

Finally, you are almost ready to work in the loudest areas of your premises again. However, before that, you must find and make available hearing protection that effectively diminishes the worker’s exposure. This may take the form of muffs, plugs or even custom hearing protection. 


Reviewing the Program Annually/ Monitoring Sound Levels

Now that you have a hearing conservation program that meets the standards and requirements of Alberta Occupational Health & Safety, there is only one step left. An annual review of said program. This is your opportunity to analyze and change any parts of your program that are ineffective. Remember, if your processes change, you must also reevaluate all affected policies and procedures.


Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests, to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today on (403) 399-4775.