Moving presses, equipment motors and hot flash cures and conveyor dryers all pose their own risks. That’s why it is important that you follow some basic equipment safety tips in your screen printing shop.
OSHA requires workplaces to have Lockout/Tagout procedures, and there’s a good reason: These procedures help to make sure that machines are fully turned off — with little risk of accidentally being turned back on — while employees are performing maintenance or repair. On screen printing machines, this can save employees from swinging arms or lowering heads that could trap and injure them. Ideally, you should have lockout boxes installed over your equipment’s electrical plugs or switches. Make sure your shop has and is following Lockout/Tagout procedures every time machines are being worked on.
Unless you’re working in a space that was specifically designed for your screen printing business, it can be a challenge to give all of your equipment access to electrical plugs. As you set up your equipment, make sure that all machinery is plugged into appropriate electrical sources. That means finding electrical outlets and extension cords that are made to handle your machine’s amperage, and it means not overloading outlets or cords. Bad electrical connections can pose a fire hazard and endanger your employees.
As a matter of convenience, it can be tempting to set a can of spray adhesive or container of ink on top of a conveyor dryer or flash cure unit while you’re setting up your machine. This can pose a few hazards. Flammable solvents or aerosol containers that accidentally go through the dryer or overheat while sitting on a dryer or flash cure unit can ignite or explode. Or, they can affect the air intake of the unit and pose a fire hazard.
It can be tempting to keep machinery on all the time to avoid having to wait for it to turn on or preheat. While you might be able to keep machinery running during a short break in production, turn machinery off when it’s not going to be in use for a while, or when you’re leaving the shop. An employee could be injured by a piece of machinery he doesn’t know is operational, while dryers or flash cure units could pose a fire danger if left running while your team leaves the shop for a lunch break.
When employees fully understand the equipment they are using, and how to operate and service the machinery safely, they are far less likely to be injured. Make sure all of your employees are educated about your equipment. Even if employees won’t be using certain pieces of machinery, make sure you explain the machine’s operation and potential hazards so they can avoid dangers while on the production floor.
One of the best ways to keep you and your team safe in your screen printing shop is to be aware of and stay alert to potential dangers. Read your equipment manuals and warnings and monitor your shop to make sure your equipment is being used and maintained safely. While accidents can happen, they are far less likely when you and your team know where danger lies and follow basic equipment safety procedures.
For more information regarding safety in your screen printing shop, check out these blogs: