A variety of hazards are present in printing, copying, developing and binding operations, ranging from hazardous substances (inks, glues, solvents, cleaning materials) to dangerous machinery (presses, clamps, guillotines, lifts and transmission apparatus); atmospheric contaminants, occupational overuse syndrome, noise, storage hazards, manual handling and congestion.
Hazards in printing, copying, developing and binding operations can be minimised in the following ways:
- Management of electrical and mechanical hazards is largely addressed by the design of modern equipment, although older apparatus may require safety features to be retro-fitted, such as guards and interlocks. Unguarded belts, pulleys, chains and blades must be guarded. Operators must be fully conversant with the operation of any machinery they use, and aware of potential exposure to hazards.
- Management of hazardous substances is dictated by their properties and modes of exposure to them. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) often provide the best guidance in effective hazard management. Contact (skin, inhalation or ingestion) with any potentially harmful substance must be strictly controlled, and the use of protective equipment such as overalls and gloves must be worn.
- Inhalation of solvents, aerosols, ozone or dust etc is best controlled by filtering emissions at source, or by local exhaust ventilation..
- Manual handling of bulky or heavy items may result in injury where loads are awkward, frequent, heavy or unstable. Mechanical or human assistance as appropriate must be used where required. A review of stock storage relative to delivery and use points may identify where stock movement can be eliminated or rationalised, thus reducing the need for manual handling.
- Noise in printing operations may be sufficiently loud or uncomfortable to warrant the use of hearing protection. These should only be used (ear plugs or ear defenders) where it is not practicable to control the noise at source.
- Lack of available space or poor use space may increase the risk of machine entanglement or impact injury.
- Ultra Violet light emissions from reprographics equipment may be sufficiently powerful to cause eye damage (eg cataracts) following long term exposure. To prevent operator exposure, covers and shields must always be worn when using equipment.
- General ventilation and temperature control in a machine room may require the installation of localised exhaust and fresh air make-up ventilation to maintain a comfortable working environment for operators.
As per Safety Data Sheets for hazardous substance exposure.
All hazardous machinery must be provided with a prominent and accessible emergency stop device.