The printing industry is one that requires accuracy, quality and productivity. It cannot afford to lose timeliness. A single typo or system error can soon create lengthy delays that cause disastrous consequences for customers.
This unwavering devotion to promptness is what makes this industry particularly susceptible to overlooking its numerous health and safety hazards, but we’re here to help you avoid the pitfalls.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the most common types of accidents in the printing industry are manual handling (27%), slips and trips (22%) and machinery (22%). As an employer in this industry, it is you who is responsible for not only managing health and safety, but helping to prevent these accidents from happening.
Here’s how you can help to protect your employees:
Manual Handling – Lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling cause the majority of injuries in the printing industry. All employers should avoid manual handling where possible, but if that is unavoidable, here are some tips to help avoid these hazards:
- Provide the right kind of training to avoid injuries where it is required.
- Provide your employees with mechanical handling aids such as scissor lifts, pile turners, reel conveyor trolleys and sack trucks.
- Reduce risks by decreasing the size and weight of every day loads.
Slips and Trips – Slips and trips is a widespread risk in printing, particularly in production areas, you can limit common hazards by doing the following:
- Keep walkways well marked and clear of pallets and other obstructions.
- Identify specific places for pallet loading and
- Provide suitable bins for disposing of strapping, wrapping and paper.
- Designate storage areas for equipment such as trolleys and lift trucks.
- Avoid trailing cables, and provide cable covers for temporary arrangements.
- Repair potholes in floor surfaces.
- Prevent oil leaks by maintaining equipment.
- Clean up spills immediately.
Machinery – Common causes of accidents include being drawn into in-running nips of rollers, contact with dangerous moving parts and entanglement with rotating parts. Here are some steps to help reduce hazards with machinery:
- Choose the right machine for the job.
- Train employees on the proper use of machine
- Maintain machine guards.
- Establish a lockoff/isolation programme for shutting down machines and equipment for cleaning, repairing or emergencies.
- Prohibit employees from wearing loose clothing, jewellery or untied long hair when operating
- Have machines routinely inspected by a qualified technician.
Fires and Explosions – Printing firms often contain many flammable materials which create significant fire and explosion risks. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres
Regulations 2002 stipulates that you must assess the fire and explosion risks from any dangerous substances used or produced in your workplace. Lessen the risk of fire with the following tips:
- Segregate printing, storage and other areas.
- Ensure the mixing of solvent-based inks is carried out only in dedicated fire-resisting rooms.
- Install fire-detection and extinguishing systems.
- Provide dampers to isolate solvent recovery units in the event of a fire.
Chemicals – The printing industry relies on a host of harmful chemicals. The substances your business needs, such as inks, lacquers, adhesives and cleaning solvents, could cause ill health. Employees may breathe in damaging vapours and mists or absorb dangerous chemicals through their skin. Abide by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) by heeding this advice:
- Identify which harmful substances may be present in the workplace.
- Consider how workers might expose and consequently harm themselves.
- Assess the measures you currently have in place to prevent chemical hazards.
- Provide information and training.
Noise – Noise can cause permanent hearing loss, yet seems to be a hazard that is most often overlooked. Workers, more often than not, do not perceive that their hearing is being damaged until some hearing loss has already happened. It is, however, a hazard that can be easily reined in by simply following these suggestions:
- Alter machines or processes to produce less noise.
- Enclose noisy machines with acoustic enclosures or hoods.
- Separate noisy machines and processes.
- Implement a system for plant maintenance which muffles noise.
- Provide refuges for employees to escape exposure.
- Offer hearing protection that stifles sound to below 85 decibels.
If you are unsure of your legal requirements or would simply like more information about the safety hazards surrounding your industry, you can rely on the insurance professionals at The Trust Insurance Group.
Please contact us today for a review of your risk. Telephone Stuart Pigram on 01476 434050.