Workplace Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Programs – Updated! The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has identified noise and hearing loss prevention as a current enforcement priority across many sectors to check on the progress of workplaces towards complying with the requirements of the new Noise Regulation (O. Reg. 381/15), which became effective July 1, 2016. Also, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has recently updated their noise-related standards, including the standard regarding Hearing Protection Devices (Z94.2-14) which provides helpful information towards compliance with the new regulations. The next public updated offering of this popular 1-day training program is being planned in touristy St. Jacob’s, on the north edge of Kitchener-Waterloo, for Thursday, November 2, 2017. The cost is $339.00 (which includes HST). Similar to previous offerings, this program will: ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest compliance requirements, clearly explain the differences between point-in-time and dosimetry noise measurements, involve you in hands-on workshops using sound level meters and noise dosimeters, and examine typical spot-check and dosimetry results from a compliance perspective. Hearing protection devices – yes, you can even bring your own examples from your own workplace for the workshops – will be discussed in detail, including understanding the noise attenuation rating systems and calculation of effective noise levels to determine protection outcomes and facilitate selection of appropriate HPDs. Other common elements of a hearing loss prevention program will also be discussed. Registration is limited and primarily open to eligible participants by permission of the Instructor. To express interest, please send your inquiry by e-mail to kschouppe@oshtechinc.com. Expressions of interest are due by Friday October 13, 2017. Full registration is due by October 27, 2017.

About the Instructor: Kevin Schouppe is a Principal and Certified Professional Ergonomist with OSHTECH Ergonomics Group Inc., a privately-owned health and safety consulting and training company based in Waterloo, Ontario. He is an Associate Faculty Member at Conestoga College in Kitchener-Waterloo where he teaches the popular course “Fundamentals of Ergonomics” in the College’s OH&S Certificate program. This particular noise course offering is essentially an on-demand offering due to requests received during the college courses and other shorter noise workshops at other health and safety events during 2017, such as WSIB Safety Group Meetings. Attendees from those events will receive priority consideration for registration, however, some spaces are still anticipated to be available.

Kevin Schouppe, BSc. (Kin), CCPE
Associate Faculty, Conestoga College
OSHTECH Ergonomics Group Inc.

Upcoming Mold Exposure Webinar

Oshtech will be presenting a Webinar to Public Health professionals in early February on the subject of

mold exposures in homes, schools, and offices.

Interesting mold abstract for AAAAI in Los Angeles

Raining Mold?

Mr. James Anderson, MLT, Environmental Allergy/Oshtechinc, London ON, Canada

Dr, G. Daniel Brooks, MD FAAAAI, The Asthma & Allergy Center, Omaha NE

Rationale: The spring seasons of 2013-2015 in Omaha NE were warm and wet with frequent thunderstorms and heavy rains. The possible effect on airborne fungal spores was studied.

Methods: 24 hour Burkard spore trap samples (May-July of 2013, 2014, & 2015) were analyzed for fungal spore content. Local weather data and “weather events” obtained from NOAA for the same time period were noted.

Results: In mid-May of each year, mold spore levels rose quickly and remained high through June and July. Very high mold counts (> than 50,000 spores/M3) were also recorded during the study period: 23 (2013); 24 (2014); and 31 (2015). “Wet-weather” spora (ascospores & basidiospores) were more abundant than air dry spora (Cladosporium & Alternaria), but the latter were also well represented. Frequent rain events ranged from heavy rains to many hours of light rain or drizzle.

Conclusions: (1) Weather can have a profound effect on the amount and type of airborne fungal spores: our NAB station recorded abundant amounts of wet-weather spora along with lesser but plentiful amounts of dry air spora from May through July, 2013-2015. In contrast, we had previously reported extraordinary amounts of aerosolized Cladosporium & Alternaria spores over a one month period when “black corn” was harvested after a severe drought. (2) Large amounts of both wet and dry air spora can be released over an extended period of time. (3) More research into ascospore and basidiospore allergy may be warranted.

OSHTECH is now officially one of the National Allergy Bureau test sites for reliable mold and pollen information, the only site in Canada! As of early this year OSHTECH became one of the NAB selected sites for accurate and current mold and pollen information.

Previously, a study presented to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology by aerobiologist Jim Anderson of OSHTECH along with fellow researchers in the USA, reported that pollen and mold forecasting information as presented on TV weather channels and other sources is not accurate.