Making sure to follow OSHA rules and regulations is a good way to keep yourself and your employees safe and healthy.
OSHA compliance can protect your business from fines, and potentially even from lawsuits filed by injured employees. When checking your shop for OSHA compliance, there are a few regulations that apply to all printing businesses that you should be aware of.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are ubiquitous in all types of businesses. That’s because businesses are required to warn their employees of potentially hazardous chemicals — from ink to cleaning supplies — and advise employees on the safe handling of those chemicals, as well as emergency response. To comply with OSHA regulations, make sure that you have MSDS for all chemicals in your shop, that employees know where these sheets are and that all of your MSDS are up to date, or within three years old. If you’re searching for MSDS for the materials you use, they are available through the chemical’s manufacturer, and many manufacturers have MSDS available to print via their websites.
Safety guards are required for any machines with moving parts that can entrap or injure an employee. That includes your screen printing presses and likely even the belt on your conveyor dryer. Ideally, guards are attached to the machinery itself, and many manufacturers factor in these safety features. If not, you will want to make sure that all moving components of your machinery are safely guarded from accidental entrapment.
Sometimes, employees have to bypass those safety guards to repair or maintain a piece of equipment. Lockout/Tagout procedures are intended to keep them safe while doing so. With Lockout/Tagout procedures, power to your machinery must be entirely disabled, and the only people able to restore power must be the ones working on the machinery. To comply with OSHA regulations, you must have Lockout/Tagout procedures for your machinery and make sure that employees adhere to those procedures.
Employees should have access to safety gear to protect them from hazards. In your screen printing shop, that might mean rubber gloves to protect hands from chemicals, masks to protect their lungs from fumes, safety goggles to protect the eyes and even ear plugs to protect hearing from the loud sounds of the printing press and air compressor.
In addition to MSDS and operational guidelines, OSHA also comes with a reporting component. If someone is injured in your shop, you are required to report the injury to OSHA. Keep in mind that even long-term problems, such as hearing loss from loud machinery, can qualify as a workplace injury or illness under OSHA standards.
While it’s not a required part of OSHA compliance, OSHA does offer consultations to help ensure that you’re adhering to OSHA regulations. These inspections are designed to be a helpful service to small- and medium-sized businesses and won’t result in OSHA citations. Rather, you’ll be provided with information on which regulations you might not be following perfectly and advice on how to bring your shop into compliance.
Whether you spend time reading up on OSHA regulations yourself, or request a consultation, make sure you’re in compliance with OSHA regulations in your screen printing shop. Remember that OSHA compliance is good for your business: It keeps you and your employees safe and helps to prevent fines or lawsuits due to workplace dangers.
For more tips on staying safe in your screen printing shop, check out these blogs: