Occupational Health and Safety Code
The Occupational Health and Safety Code provides specific technical health and safety rules and requirements for Alberta workplaces.
Part 16 Noise
Duty to reduce
An employer must ensure that all reasonably practicable measures are used to reduce the noise to which workers are exposed in areas of the work site where workers may be present.
Noise control design
An employer must ensure that the following are designed and constructed in such a way that the continuous noise levels generated do not exceed 85 dBA or are as low as reasonably practicable:
(a) a new work site or work area;
(b) significant physical alterations, renovations or repairs to an existing work site or work area;
(c) a work process introduced to the work site or work area;
(d) significant equipment introduced to the work site or work area.
Worker exposure to noise
An employer must ensure that a worker’s exposure to noise at a work site does not exceed
(a) the noise exposure limits in Schedule 3, and
(b) 85 dBA Lex.
Noise exposure assessment
If workers are, or may be, exposed to noise at a work site or work area in excess of 82 dBA Lex, an employer must ensure a noise exposure assessment is conducted in accordance with CSA Standard Z107.56-18, Measurement of noise exposure.
An employer must ensure a noise exposure assessment at a work site is performed using
(a) a noise dosimeter meeting the requirements for a Type 2 instrument as specified by ANSI/ASA S1.25‑1991 (R2020), Specification for Personal Noise Dosimeters, or IEC 61252:1993/AMD2:2017, Electroacoustics - Specifications for personal sound exposure meters, and set at
(i) a criterion level of 85 dBA with a 3 dB exchange rate,
(ii) a threshold level at or below 75 dBA or “off”, and
(iii) slow response,
(b) a sound level meter or an integrating sound level meter that meets the requirements as specified by
(i) ANSI/ASA S1.4-2014/Part 1/IEC 61672-1:2013 (R2019), Electroacoustics - Sound Level Meters - Part 1: Specifications,
(ii) ANSI/ASA S1.4-2014/Part 2/IEC 61672-2:2013 (R2019), Electroacoustics - Sound Level Meters - Part 2: Pattern Evaluation Tests, and
(iii) ANSI/ASA S1.4-2014/Part 3/IEC 61672-3:2013 (R2019), Electroacoustics - Sound Level Meters Part 3: Periodic Tests.
An employer must ensure that a noise exposure assessment is
(a) conducted and interpreted by a competent person who
(i) is trained in conducting noise exposure assessments,
(ii) is trained in the calibration, operation and maintenance of the equipment used in conducting noise exposure measurements, and
(iii) can demonstrate an understanding of the method used
(b) updated if a change in equipment, process or other thing affects the noise level or the length of time a worker is exposed to noise.
Record of noise exposure assessment
An employer must ensure that each noise exposure assessment is recorded and includes
(a) the sound level readings measured,
(b) the dates of measurements,
(c) the tasks of workers or occupations evaluated,
(d) the type of measuring equipment used,
(e) the work area evaluated, and
(f) the date the assessment is completed.
An employer must ensure that
(a) a copy of the noise exposure assessment is available on request to an affected worker or an officer, and
(b) the record of a noise exposure assessment is retained for at least 3 years from the date the assessment was completed.
Noise management program
If a noise exposure assessment confirms that workers are exposed to excess noise at a work site, an employer must develop and implement a noise management program that includes
(a) procedures for addressing noise at the work site,
(b) identification of the work area at the work site where noise may exceed the noise exposure limits,
(c) procedures for measuring worker exposure to noise,
(d) procedures for educating workers in the hazards of exposure to excess noise,
(e) the methods of noise control to be used,
(f) training workers in the correct use of noise control measures and hearing protection devices,
(g) the selection, use and maintenance of hearing protection devices to be used and worn by workers,
(h) posting of suitable warning signs in any work area where the noise level exceeds 85 dBA,
(i) the requirements for audiometric testing and the maintenance of audiometric test records, and
(j) an annual review of the noise management program that includes consideration of the data received under section 223(6).
An employer must ensure that hearing protection devices used and worn by workers at a work site or work area
(a) meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z94.2‑14 (R2019), Hearing protection devices — Performance, selection, care, and use, and
(b) are fit tested in accordance with CSA Standard Z94.2‑14 (R2019), Hearing protection devices — Performance, selection, care, and use.
An employer must provide, at the employer’s expense, the following audiometric tests for a worker who is or may be exposed to excess noise at a work site or in a work area:
(a) an initial baseline test as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than 6 months after the worker is employed or within 6 months after a worker is or may be exposed to excess noise because of a change in the worker's duties or process conditions;
(b) a test not more than 12 months after the initial baseline test;
(c) a test at least every 2nd year after the test under clause (b).
An employer must ensure that audiometric tests are administered by an audiometric technician who
(a) works in consultation with a physician, audiologist or occupational health nurse familiar, to the extent possible, with the work site or work area, and
(b) prior to testing, arranges for an assessment of any results that indicate a significant threshold shift to be conducted
(i) where the person consulted under clause (a) is a physician or audiologist, by the physician or audiologist, or
(ii) where the person consulted under clause (a) is an occupational health nurse, by a physician or audiologist.
The audiometric technician conducting the audiometric testing must
(a) use an audiometer in accordance with ANSI/ASA S3.6-2018, Specification for Audiometers, and
(b) conduct audiometric tests in accordance with CSA Standard Z107.6:16 (R2020), Audiometric testing for use in hearing loss prevention programs.
If the results of an audiometric test indicate a significant threshold shift, the audiometric technician must
(a) advise the worker of the test results not more than 30 days after the test is completed, and
(b) forward the results of the audiometric test, any other relevant information and the results of the baseline audiometric test to the physician or audiologist referred to in subsection (2)(b).
If the physician or audiologist referred to in subsection (4) confirms the audiogram as a significant threshold shift, the physician or audiologist must
(a) advise the worker to that effect not more than 30 days after the test results are received under subsection (4), and
(b) with the written consent of the worker, provide the results of the audiometric test to the worker's physician.
Each physician or audiologist who receives audiometric test results under subsection (4)(b) must
(a) provide aggregate data on audiometric test results to the employer at least annually, and
(b) advise the employer as soon as possible of any concerns that, in the opinion of the physician or audiologist, are related to noise management at the work site or work area.
Information received by
(a) the physician or audiologist under subsection (4)(b) must be retained by the physician or audiologist for at least 10 years from the date of receipt, and
(b) the employer under subsection (6) must be retained by the employer for at least 2 years from the date of receipt.
Deemed work time
A worker who undergoes audiometric testing under section 223 is deemed to be at work during the times when the worker is
(a) travelling to and from the audiometric test, and
(b) undergoing the audiometric test.