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Printing Industry eTool


Ergonomics in the Printing Industry

Workers involved in printing processes may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from workplace activities which force them to work outside their physical capacities (i.e., lifting an item that is too heavy, or lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures). MSDs are a serious problem as they can increase the number of employee lost work days, increase insurance costs, increase training and staffing costs, and reduce operation efficiency and quality. Changes which allow employees to work within their physical limits reduce the number errors, sick days, and injuries and enable employees to be more productive and produce a higher quality product. Ergonomic improvements are often simple and obvious, but even if they require significant effort they generally justify the resources spent. Good ergonomics is good business.

This eTool is a product of the OSHA and Graphics Arts Coalition Alliance. This eTool* provides information based on the experience of others with the hope of making the process of hazard minimization easier. This eTool is divided into the following process pages that correspond to the major styles of printing: LithographyFlexography, and Screen Printing.

Lithography
Lithography
Flexography
Flexography
Screen Printing
Screen Printing

Within each process page the user will find a description of the printing process and the trouble areas that have currently been identified for that process. The user can navigate between each area to become familiar with the hazard and to see what others have identified as possible solutions allowing an employer or employee to address these problems.

How do I find out about employer responsibilities and worker rights?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.

OSHA has a great deal of information to assist employers in complying with their responsibilities under the OSHA law.

OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential on-site consultation service to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.

Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Employees can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to your local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an employee are more likely to result in an inspection.

If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.


*eTools are "stand-alone", interactive, Web-based training tools specializing in occupational safety and health topics. They utilize graphical menus and as indicated in the disclaimer, do not create new OSHA requirements.
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