Printing Operations Included in OSHA Midwest Enforcement Program for Noise

On June 1, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Region V office in Chicago established a regional emphasis program (REP) of targeted outreach and enforcement of its occupational noise exposure standard (29 CFR 1910.95) in Midwest manufacturing facilities. OSHA Region V includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The list of manufacturing facilities includes printing operations.

REPs are enforcement strategies meant to address high-priority issues workers face in a particular state or region. These programs are created and carried out throughout the region and usually involves an education and outreach campaign first followed by a focused enforcement program.

The Region V REP will follow this pattern and include:

  • Outreach activities include sending letters to employers, professional associations, local safety councils, local hospitals and occupational health clinics, and presentations to industry organizations and stakeholders.
  • Beginning August 1, 2021 enforcement will begin involving the inspection and review of injury and illness records, operations and working conditions, and safety and health programs.

During inspections, the OSHA inspector will review the OSHA 300 injury and illness logs for any standard threshold shifts in hearing and any noise monitoring data collected by the employer. The inspector will conduct a walk around of the facility to obtain sound level meter readings, identifying noise levels in excess of OSHA’s exposure limits, both the action level (i.e., 85 dBA) and permissible exposure limit (90 dBA).

If the sound level meter readings are below OSHA’s exposure limits during working conditions representative of a typical work shift, the inspector will stop the inspection. If the sound level meter readings indicate a potential for noise overexposures, the CSHOs will conduct full-shift noise monitoring, including sound level meter readings and personal noise dosimetry.

PRINTING United Alliance has additional resources on OSHA compliance including noise and hearing conservation on its web page available to its members.

For more information on this program and OSHA compliance requirements, contact Marci Kinter at or Gary Jones at


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