Avoiding OSHA and Injuries
Even though working in a printing operation is a relatively safe environment, injuries can and do occur. I’m sure you are aware of the potential hazards in your line of work. Whether through your first-day-on-the-job orientation, through webinars and training you’ve attended since then, or through experience - a.k.a. “learning the hard way” (for your sake, we hope it’s not the latter) - at some point you were made aware of how to safely use the equipment in your facility and how to navigate the workplace by understanding warning signs and reading labels correctly. Even more impressive would be to have a systematic program that would identify anything that could potentially turn into a hazardous situation, and (here’s the kicker) do something to mitigate that potential hazard.
In 2018, the printing industry experience 9,300 total recordable injuries, and between Oct. 2018 and Sept. 2019 there were 133 inspections in the printing industry, resulting in 411 citations and total penalties of about $1 million. Lock Out Tag Out, Hazard Communication, and Machine Guarding were the top three OSHA violations in the printing industry. Others in the top 10 were Electrical Safety, Portable Fire Extinguishers, Powered Industrial Trucks, Respiratory Protection, and Personal Protection Equipment. Our mission is to work with our members to reduce their contributions to these numbers as much as possible.
What steps can you take to find and fix the hazards in your facility, and continually reduce the risk of workplace injuries and/or OSHA violations? The concept is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Regular facility walkthroughs and inspections of equipment for physical hazards, and observing how employees interact with the equipment.
- Continually engage and train employees and management regarding the importance of safety.
- Keep a written Safety and Health plan, with policies and procedures and supporting documentation of training.
However, the execution is a bit more involved. But don’t fret! SGIA has resources to help you get started, as well as continually improve existing programs you may have. The Safety Recognition Program is a resource as much as it is an awards program. The purpose is to help you continually enhance your Safety and Health Program, reduce risk for injuries and compliance violations, and award you for achieving your goals. How does it work?
- Sign up! Registration is open from November 1 to January 31 annually. Registration is currently closed for 2020, but click here to be notified when it opens again!
- Receive monthly emails containing resources such as safety posters, training tips, safety committee meeting templates, reminders for compliance deadlines, and notices of relevant webinars.
- Perform actions to improve safety in your facility such as inspecting fire extinguishers, breaker boxes, machine guards, or labeling on hazardous chemicals in the facility.
- (Get ready, this is the best part) Tell us about it and receive points! Earn 80 points or more and you will be honored with winning the Safety Recognition Award.
This program is continuously growing and looking for new opportunities to engage. Last year, for first time we invited our participants to join OSHA’s Safe and Sound Week. The purpose of this digital event is to boost morale and excitement around improving safety, engaging employees, an opportunity to earn bonus points, and gain recognition from OSHA for their accomplishments. Due to the positive response and the benefit it brought our participating members, we will be continuing to partake in OSHA Safe and Sound annually.
This year, we have added another new feature to the Program. Through the private PrinterLink Community page, participants can share ideas, goals, resources, ask for advice on safety related topics, discuss trends, etc.
Safety Recognition is not your only option when it comes to getting assistance with improving safety in your facility. SGIA members have access to our specialized online resources. Find written program templates, inspection checklists, safety posters, and more. Templates and checklists are designed to guide you through building and maintaining a robust safety program. Posters serve as reminders for employees to be aware of safety throughout the day.
Lastly, if you can’t find what you need online, have a specific issue that needs attention, or even need help with understanding an OSHA regulation or fighting a citation you received, our EHS Consulting services are available to you.
As the excitement of the new decade fades, I encourage you to keep the “new year, new me” motivation alive. Take the time to assess the level of safety in your facility, keeping those three concepts listed above in mind. Write a list of things to improve on or continually keep up with and make those a daily priority. As we all know, getting jobs done and meeting the bottom line often holds onto the forefront of our mind. So, if you need a steady reminder, use the resources available to you and avoid being a statistic!
If you are interested in learning more about SGIA’s consulting services or have any questions, please contact SGIA's Government Affairs Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Nortz is the Sustainability Programs Coordinator for PRINTING United Alliance. Her primary responsibilities consist of running both the Sustainable Business Recognition and Safety Recognition Award Programs. She also contributes to industry specific research on matters of sustainability trends and environmental safety and health regulations. She regularly publishes articles and blog posts on these topics and consistently updates the PRINTING United Alliance website with advocacy related content. Nortz recently graduated from George Mason University with her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a concentration in Human and Ecosystems Response to Climate Change.