Noise in the printing industry: Safeguarding the hearing of workers

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Courtesy of Pulsar Instruments plc

Why failing to monitor noise levels could open your company to lawsuits

Noise at work might be synonymous with construction and manufacturing industries but it can also be a significant problem in the printing trade. Failing to monitor and control noise levels in the printing industry can result in workers suffering from noise-induced hearing loss (also known as NIHL), which can subsequently lead to lawsuits and hefty compensation pay-outs.

One example of this is a case that took place in 2013. A former printer claimed that he suffered hearing loss as a “direct result” of working with loud machinery without being offered any kind of ear protection. After taking his former employer to court, the owners of a Yorkshire-based web printing firm, which closed in 2004, agreed to pay 69-year-old Roy Walton approximately £3,700 in compensation.

In the last decade, noise levels within the printing industry have been decreasing somewhat thanks to new technology. However noise still remains a significant problem. A study conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that printers are exposed to daily noise levels of 85 decibels and higher. The recommended daily exposure levels are 80 decibels so, as we can see, action is required to ensure the hearing of those working in printing is safeguarded.

The HSE advises that, in the first instance, printing employers should assess the noise exposure levels within their printing factory or workshop.

One way to assess the print workers’ exposure to noise during a typical working day is by using professional noise monitoring equipment.

The Pulsar Nova range of sound level meters enable employers to measure accuratelythe levels of noise in a given space. The new Nova range can be easily configured for the Control of Noise at Work Regulations of 2005 in the UK. The Noise Regulations 2005 state that:

“An employer who carries out work which is liable to expose any employees to noise at or above exposure action value shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk from that noise to the health and safety of those employees.”

As the printing industry falls above the recommended daily noise exposure levels, it is imperative that printing firms carry out the necessary assessments to help safeguard the hearing of workers.

As well as being easily configured to the Noise Regulations, the new range of Pulsar sound level meters offers industry leading noise measurement methods without the complexity of some devices currently on the market.

The Quantifier Range of sound level meters also comply with the 2005 Noise at Work Regulations. These integrating averaging sound level meters are a practical and user-friendly way to measure noise levels in virtually any working environment.

For a robust and high performing noise measurement device, the Assessor Range provide an easy-to-use, simple and effective way to measure noise and carry out risk assessments in the printing industry. Like the Pulsar Nova and Quantifier ranges, the Assessor noise meters also comply with official noise standards, both in the UK and abroad.

As well as assessing the levels of noise printers are exposed to daily, the HSE recommends that Health surveillance hearing checks are provided for all employees who are regularly exposed to noises of 85 decibels or more.

For a wide range of advanced and easy to use noise monitoring equipment that can effectively measure the levels of noise in printing environments, or virtually any place of work, visit Pulsar Instruments.

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