The papers are a culmination of studies that were carried out, in collaboration with the BPIF, across eight print sites between March 2010 and July 2011.

The HSE previously carried out noise data studies in print between 1985 and 1994, to inform industry specific guidance on acceptable exposure levels, following the introduction of health and safety regulations in 1984.

Then with the introduction of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations in 2005, the HSE began revising guidance across a range industries and developing industry specific microsites, on the HSE website, to inform those affected.

During these latest studies the HSE found that although noise levels in print have decreased by six decibels (dB) since the 90s, average daily exposure is still above recommended levels.

The ‘lower exposure action value’ should be 80dB according to the 2005 regulations, while the latest data shows that printers are being exposed to around 85dB.

HSE inspector Alison Crank said: “Long term noise at these levels is hazardous and the regulations require programmes for noise control to be put in place.”

The HSE data splits noise risk into three main areas of printing including reel hands, press workers and post-press activities.

Crank said that although exposures varied for all three, most exceeded the lower exposure action values and many also exceeded the upper recommended values, which could result in long-term health issues.

The findings will be uploaded onto the HSE website in the comings months, while print industry specific guidance is also in development.