OSHA Unveils New Printing Industry Ergonomics eTool

March 15, 2006
Employees working in the printing industry will have a new tool developed by OSHA to help keep them ergonomically safe on the job.

"Ergonomics in the Printing Industry eTool" is OSHA's latest interactive web-based tool that focuses on workers involved in printing processes who may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from workplace activities that require them to work outside their physical capacities (e.g., lifting heavy items or lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures).

"This is an important new resource to help educate workers and employers on avoiding ergonomic-related injuries in the printing industry," said Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, which has an alliance with the Graphic Arts Coalition. "It's designed to provide practical information that is based on the experience of others on how workers can make simple ergonomic improvements to avoid hazards on the job."

While there are significant variations in the process, the new tool simplifies the overall operation into three broad categories: prepress, press and finishing and burdening.

The first module of the eTool addresses the lithographic printing process. Users can access specific printing tasks (e.g., plate making and hand collating), descriptions of each task and the potential hazards that have been identified for that job. The user can then navigate within each task to become familiar with the hazards and to learn what others have identified as possible solutions.

To access and download this eTool or others, visit the OSHA Web site at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft/index.html.

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