After a first offence, farmers who don’t follow the province’s new noise regulations could be fined $25,000 and imprisoned for up to 12 months. Farm corporations could be fined up to $500,000.
The noise regulations came into effect July 1 to protect employees from being exposed to hazardous levels of noise in an effort to prevent hearing loss. Hazardous noise is 85 decibels or louder for eight hours. On a farm, an idling tractor is 85 decibels, an operating chainsaw is 94 to 116 decibels, an orchard sprayer in 85 to 100 decibels and a tractor under a full load is 120 decibels.
The regulations require farmers to reduce workers’ exposure by putting in measures such as engineering controls, work practices, and the use of personal protective equipment including hearing protection devices.
A Ministry of Labour spokesperson said a farm not following the regulations would be given a work order stating it had to obey the new rules. The farm could then be charged if it disobeyed the order.