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Printing industry poses significant health hazards to workers

The digital age has not removed the need to print large quantities of packages and publications in Pennsylvania. Printing involves many large machines and chemicals, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers it a high-hazard industry. The agency's report for fiscal year 2018 that ended on Sept. 30, highlighted the top workplace safety violations for printing companies. Fines imposed on employers for any of these violations could easily cost $3,000 to $10,000.

Citations for failing to communicate hazards to employees represented the most common violation. Printing companies have a responsibility to inform employees about chemical hazards. Violations typically arise when employers do not train employees about chemical hazards or supply them with safety data sheets for all chemicals.

Lockout or tag-out violations entered the list at number two. These safety mechanisms prevent machines from starting unexpectedly or expelling chemicals or residue during maintenance. Insufficient lockout or tag-out equipment could result in serious injuries such as amputations.

Inspectors also frequently found that machine guards were lacking at printing operations. Printers operate at high speeds, and employees need barriers to prevent contact with moving machine parts or block flying sparks and debris.

A person working in a location that has been subject to safety citations might want legal support after a workplace accident. An employer with a bad safety record could discourage a worker from reporting an injury. Documenting an injury is necessary before a person can file a workers' comp claim. With the support of an attorney, a person might access information about the insurance and complete the necessary paperwork. An attorney may also shield someone from retaliation at work when pursuing benefits for medical care or lost pay. In some cases, an attorney might suggest filing a lawsuit when an insurer disputes the necessity of paying a claim.

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