WorkSafe Bulletin - Noise Levels: How loud is it?

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Job sites throughout BC
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As a worker in the forest industry, you may be exposed to hazardous levels of noise on the job. Regular exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dBA) can cause permanent hearing loss. You may not work regular eight-hour shifts or be exposed to noise continuously, but you may still be at risk of hearing loss.

Noise levels and exposure time work together to create the risk. Working in higher noise levels for a short time or in lower noise levels for a long time can cause the same harm.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

In the attached WorkSafe Bulletin, a table shows how long you can be exposed to certain noise levels without harm. It also lists examples of typical noise exposures for several forestry occupations.

For example, if you work as a manual faller for 8 hours a day and are exposed to noise at 103 dBA, you can work in this environment for up to 7.5 minutes before the noise becomes hazardous. It's important to know how loud your equipment or work enviornment is to understand the risk you face.

If testing shows that your noise exposure is greater than 85 dBA (averaged over an eight-hour day), your employer must take steps to protect your hearing. These steps include reducing workplace noise and providing you with hearing protection. Your hearing protection must be comfortable and provide adequate protection from noise.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) rates hearing protection as Class A, B or C, depending on how much noise reduction the protection provides. The recommended protection for eight hours of exposure is explained in the attached bulletin.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

WorkSafeBC Prevention Information Line: 1-888-621-7233

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