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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 72  |  Page : 306--319

Comparison of occupational noise legislation in the Americas: An overview and analysis


1 Institute of Acoustics, University Austral of Chile, Valdivia, Chile
2 Alice Suter and Associates, Portland, OR 97212, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jorge P Arenas
Institute of Acoustics, University Austral of Chile, P. O. Box 567, Valdivia
Chile
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.140511

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The workplace contributes significantly to the total dose of daily noise to which a person is subjected. Therefore, millions of people around the world are exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels and consequently, there is an urgent, global need for legislation to adequately protect the auditory health of workers. Occupational noise legislation has been adopted in many of the countries with different degrees of comprehensiveness and varying levels of sophistication. This paper presents a global view of current legislation on occupational noise in the 22 countries that make up the Americas, that is, Latin America, Canada, and the United States. Upon analysis of the legislation, there are notable differences among countries in the defined values for permissible exposure limit (PEL) and exchange rate. Of the countries that have regulations, the majority (81%) use a PEL of 85 dBA. A PEL of 85 dBA and the 3-dB exchange rate are currently used by 32% of the nations in the Americas. Most nations limit impulsive noise exposure to a peak unweighted sound pressure level of 140 dB (or dBC), while a few use slightly lower limits. However, 27% of the countries in the region still have not established regulations with respect to permissible noise levels and exchange rates. This fact is leaving millions of workers in the Americas unprotected against occupational noise. Provide an overview and analysis of the current legislation on occupational noise in the 22 countries that make up the Americas. The information on legislation, regulations, and standards discussed in this paper were obtained directly from official government sources in each country, the International Labour Organization database, or through various colleagues in each country. (1) There are notable differences among countries in the defined values for PEL and exchange rate. (2) Of the countries that have regulations, the majority (81%) use a PEL of 85 dBA. A PEL of 85 dBA and the 3-dB exchange rate are currently used by 32% of the nations in the Americas. (3) Most nations limit impulsive noise exposure to a peak unweighted sound pressure level of 140 dB (or dBC), while a few use slightly lower limits. (4) 27% of the countries in the region still have not established regulations with respect to permissible noise levels and exchange rates. (5) Millions of workers in the Americas are unprotected against occupational noise.






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