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Exposure Limits to Chemical and Biological Agents
Last updated: April 2018
Prepared by CCOHS
The following are the references to the provincial and federal legislation where you would find the occupational exposure limits for the different jurisdictions in Canada. Since legislation is amended from time to time, the jurisdictions should be contacted for the most current information about the exposure limits and how they are enforced. Since legislation interpretation and enforcement varies by jurisdiction, contact your jurisdiction as listed in Canadian Government Occupational Health & Safety Departments (http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/information/govt.html) for additional information. The ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices are available from:
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
Technical Affairs Office
1330 Kemper Meadow Drive
Cincinnati Ohio 45240-1634 USA
Tel: (513) 742-2020
This list is prepared by CCOHS as part of the Canadian enviroOSH Legislation service . This service is a comprehensive and easy to search compilation of the full text of Canadian health, safety and environmental legislation and critical guidelines and codes of practice from all jurisdictions. All the legislation is compiled into one convenient location and is regularly updated with amendments highlighted.
Subscribers to this service and paid learners of the CCOHS e-courses have access to the full text of the legislation listed in this document. To become a subscriber please contact Client Services .
The occupational exposure limits that apply to employees covered by Canada Labour Code are the ACGIH TLVs and BEIs, as amended, which are referenced in section 10.19 of Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304 as amended) made under the Canada Labour Code Part II (R.S.C. 1985, c. L- 2). The ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI) for should be consulted for specific exposure limits.
The TLVs of the ACGIH have been adopted for the purposes of the following Federal Regulations:
(a) Aviation Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (s. 5.16)
(b) Maritime Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (ss. 238 and 255 )
(c) On Board Trains Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (s. 7.20)
(d) Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (s. 11.23)
Occupational exposure limits are described in Part 4 "Chemical Hazards, Biological Hazards and Harmful Substances" (Sections 16 to 20) of the Occupational Health and Safety Code (2009). Substances are listed in Schedule 1 , Table 2.
Substances and processes requiring a code of practice are outlined in Section 26 and listed in Table 1 .
Part 5 (Chemical Substances and Biological Agents) and Sections 5.48 - 5.59 reference current ACGIH values except where otherwise determined by the board in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (B.C. Reg. 296/97) made under the Workers' Compensation Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 492).
Occupational exposure limits are referenced in Section 36.5 of the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation (Man. Reg. 217/2006) made under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (R.S.M. 1987, c. W210). When available, employers are expected to establish OELs that do not exceed the ACGIH TLVs. There is also a requirement for employers, in some circumstances, to set their own occupational exposure limit to ensure workers are not exposed to health hazards.
The term "threshold limit value" as defined in section 2 makes reference to the ACGIH TLVs in sections 23 - 25 of the General Regulation (N.B. Reg. 91-191) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (S.N.B. 1983, c. O-0.2). Exceptions are the threshold limit value for lead sulfide (which uses the 1991-1992 ACGIH TLVs. A code of practice for working with material containing asbestos regulation is made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Reg. 92-106 under the Act).
Newfoundland and Labrador
The ACGIH TLVs "currently established by "ACGIH" (i.e. the most recent edition) are referred to (but not listed) in section 42 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012 (N.L.R. 5/09) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.N.L. 1990, c. O-3).
Section 12, Occupational health and safety program [subsection 12(1)(h)]
Section 46, Silica regulation
Section 47, Silica medical surveillance
Section 48, Asbestos
Section 49, Lead exposure control plan
Section 512, Corrective precautions
Part 21, Chemical and Biological Substances of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (R-039-2015) under the Safety Act (R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. S-1) makes specific reference to the occupational exposure limits as set out in Schedules Q, R and O . There are also specific regulations for silica sandblasting safety and asbestos safety.
The ACGIH TLVs are referenced in Part 2, Occupational Health of the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (N.S. Reg. 52/2013) made under the Health Act (S.N.S. 1996, c. 7). Codes of Practice exist for asbestos and lead.
Part 21 Chemical and Biological Substances of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (R-003-2016) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. S-1) makes specific reference to the occupational exposure limits as set out in Schedules Q, R and O . There are also specific regulations for silica sandblasting safety and asbestos safety.
The exposure limits are specifically listed in Part 4 of the Regulation respecting Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents (O. Reg. 833 of R.R.O. 1990) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.O. 1990, c.O.1).
Exposure limits and certain regulatory requirements regarding some other chemicals are found in the Designated Substances regulation (O. Reg. 490/09) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. ACGIH TLVs are to be applied if an agent is not listed in the Ontario Table.
See also: Current Occupational Exposure Limits for Ontario Workplaces Required under Regulation 833
Prince Edward Island
ACGIH TLVs and BEIs for "1985-86 (with annual update)" are referenced (but not listed) in Section 11.3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act General Regulations (E.C. 180/87) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01).
Permissible exposure values for gases, dusts, fumes, vapours or mists in the work environment are referenced in section 41 and are listed in Schedule I of the Quebec Regulation respecting occupational health and safety ( Règlement sur la santé et la sécurité du travail ) (O.C. 885-2001) made under the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (CQLR c. S-2.1) (Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail et règlements).
Sections 307, 309 and 346(f) of the Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 under the Saskatchewan Employment Act (S.S. 2013, c. S-15.1) refer to Table 21 which contains Contamination Limits (8-hour average and 15-minute average contamination limits) for a number of chemicals.
Section 27 "Air Contaminants" refers to tables 8 to 15 which list permissible concentrations in Occupational Health Regulations (Yukon O.I.C. 1986/164) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.Y. 2002, c. 159).
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