These are the most common injuries and hazards for people working in the printing industry including printing and printing support services, as shown by injury claims.
WorkSafe expects employers to have safety solutions in place to protect workers from the most common sources of injury.
Hazards and Solutions
- Hazard 1 Exposure to dangerous goods and hazardous substances
- Treat all chemicals as potentially dangerous to health, unless material safety data sheet (MSDS) or label states otherwise.
- Eliminate the substance from use or if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate, reduce the risk (eg use a less harmful product or process, use a less hazardous form of the substance).
- Obtain material safety data sheets (MSDS) for all dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals at your workplace, and ensure employees have access to them.
- Provide information, instruction, training or supervision to employees as necessary on safe work practices that reduce exposure (e.g. re-seal containers, clean up spills and restrict unnecessary access).
- Provide personal protective equipment (eg gloves, safety glasses) for employees and ensure that it is worn.
- Hazard 2 Manual handling (eg lifting carrying pushing and pulling heavy loads)
- So far as is reasonably practicable, provide automated systems for transferring goods (eg conveyers, feeds, stackers).
- Design work to ensure task is done between shoulder and mid-thigh height to keep employees working in an upright posture as much as possible. This can be achieved by raising, lowering or moving either the employee or the work (eg height-adjustable tables and work benches, access to machinery).
- Provide steps / platforms / ladders for improved access and ensure employees maintain three points of contact when using equipment.
- Provide appropriate mechanical aids and equipment (eg lifting devices, height-adjustable trolleys, roll grabs) and ensure they are used properly and maintained in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
- So far as is reasonably practicable, break loads down to more manageable sizes or weights.
- Provide such information, instruction, training or supervision to employees as is necessary in safe handling methods (eg work is done between shoulder and mid-thigh height and with the elbows close to the body, work upright where possible).
- Hazard 3 Noise
- Ensure employees are not exposed to noise that exceeds the exposure standard by implementing risk control measures.
- Eliminate the source of the noise. If this is not reasonably practicable then reduce the noise level so far as is reasonably practicable (eg buy the quietest tools / machinery available, enclose or isolate noisy machinery, reduce vibration, use barriers or screens, use silencers on air exhausts).
- Arrange for a noise assessment if employees are exposed to excessive noise (eg workers have to raise their voices to communicate over a distance of one metre) and there is uncertainty as to whether employees exposure may exceed the noise exposure standard.
- If hearing protectors are required to ensure the employee exposure to noise does not exceed the noise exposure standard, the employer must clearly identify by signs, labelling of plant or other appropriate means, when and where hearing protectors are to be worn.
- Separate noisy and quiet processes.
- Implement job rotation to limit employee exposure.
- Provide hearing protection and ensure it is worn at all times, and provide employees with audiometric testing.
- Hazard 4 Slips trips and falls (including falls from height)
- Ensure floor surfaces, stairways and access ways are level, non-slip or slip-resistant.
- Immediately clean up clutter and obstructions (eg scrap-waste) and spills (eg residues).
- Provide adequate lighting for work areas and pathways including access ways and stairs.
- Ensure there is edge protection on any access platforms (eg gantries and walkways with barriers on or around high machines).
- Ensure employees use three points of contact when climbing or alighting from ladders.
- Ensure employees wear appropriate non-slip footwear.
- Hazard 5 Using machinery and tools
- Ensure that plant introduced into the workplace is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health (eg identify all hazards when purchasing or commissioning plant).
- Ensure machinery has appropriate safety features (eg guards are in place, emergency stops are within reach of employees operating machinery, machinery cannot unintentionally start during repair, unblocking, maintenance or cleaning).
- Provide and ensure machinery and tools are properly used and maintained in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
- Provide information, instruction, training or supervision to employees as is necessary to enable them to use machinery and tools in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
- Isolate all potential sources of energy (eg electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, gravity) and ensure all stored energy has been released or properly confined prior to undertaking maintenance. Maintenance on energised plant should be avoided, unless specified by the manufacturer.
- Establish an inspection and maintenance program to eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, or reduce the risk of unintentional movement / cycling of machinery.
- Hazard 6 Work-related stress bullying and harassment
- Develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures for workplace bullying and harassment.
- Encourage a positive workplace culture, including reporting of bullying and harassment.
- Instruct all employees on what bullying and harassment is, and the procedures for reporting incidents (eg policies and procedures should be promoted during employee induction and workplace bullying prevention or training).
- Provide access and encourage employees to use employee counselling / support services, where possible.
- Investigate incidents and implement effective controls when employees report any workplace stress factors (eg work demand, low control, poor support, lack of role clarity, change management, relationships, and incivility).