The Health and Safety Executive Agency (HSE) in the UK identifies that the major concerns of health and safety in the printing industry are accidents from manual handling, trips and slips, and contact with machinery. HSE identifies that the creation of health and safety in the printing workplace should focus on health topics like noise, dermatitis, chemicals, and manual handling (HSE n.d.). It should also factor in safety topics including slips, falls, and trips, machinery, explosion, and fires.
The report identifies several health and safety concerns in the printing company's factor floor. The first is an increased risk to the health of employees and individuals visiting the company from exposure to fumes from the UV varnish, ink from the litho printer, and vapors from injection moulds. This is from the frequent breaking down of the air conditioning and ventilation unit, causing a buildup of fumes and vapors in the factory floor and consequently the office area at the front. Health concerns for employees also are high from poor ventilation in the small room used to mix inks, poor ventilation in the main production area where solvents are used. Safety concerns arise from potential accidents from machinery. The probability of an accident is high given that one of the format press machines has disabled stop button and guard interlocks. This makes it impossible for anyone to stop the machine in an emergency. Secondly, accidents can arise from the poor location of a balcony that overlooks the main production area filled with employees and machinery. The risk of an accident from this balcony is high given that sections of the rail are removable and it is used to store pallets by forklift. Thirdly, the risk of a fire and explosion is high from the buildup of fumes and vapors especially from the high flash point and low flashpoint solvents. This risk is compounded by the frequent breakdown of the air conditioning, limited ventilation, and lack of open windows. Lastly, the company's safety index is low from a high risk of accidents from using semi-skilled workforce, which is overworked, and is expecting a higher workload from future expansion plans.
Benefits of Creating a Health and Safety Controlled Workplace Environment
Improving the health and safety standards of the workplace offers a business financial benefits and repayment of investment on meeting legal requirements. This is because environmental standards set by the company improve efficiency, fewer staff absenteeism, lower employee turnover, and increased quality and productivity of work (Wallis 2004). Good safety management systems can assist this printing company to make considerable savings. This is achievable by the reduction of financial resources spent on paying insurance premiums and sick pay for employees (Wallis 2004). A health and safety standard that is combined with an environmental safety strategy will reduce health and safety risk factors.
Therefore, by creating a health and safety workplace policy and increasing regulations on environmental management standards, this company will realize several benefits. The health and safety policy will deal with issues of accidents and health concerns. This will reduce the risk level of the company thereby reducing the premium payments, educing cases of sick employees from the fumes and vapors. The changes and investment required to set up the policy will cost the company. However, this will make sure the company improves its business and management strategies, reduce workload, reduce employee absenteeism, and sick pay. Efficiency and productivity increase, increasing sales volume, reducing production and running costs, and increasing overall profits.
Hazard and Risk Control
Hazards and risks are controlled using several measures including elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering control, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (House of Commons Business and Enterprise Committee 2009). Control measures entail all actions taken to eliminate, mitigate, or remove the likelihood or a risk exposure or hazard.
1. In the printing factory, the first procedure the elimination of hazards and thereby eliminating risks. These involves the elimination of risks associated with the balcony on the second floor, by fitting all loose rails, and finding an alternative storage place for the pallets.
2. The second step is the substitution of the hazard with a lower risk factor. Improve fume extraction on the production floor to remove all vapors created by the high and low flashpoint solvents. Improve ventilation in the small room used to mix inks, or find an open space to mix the inks away from the small room. The small room can be used to store pallets, printing media, and paper.
3. Isolate the hazard entails the restriction of a hazard to a specific part of the plant. In this case, the company can isolate the mixing of inks to an open space ware from any electrical outlet. This can be in the form of installing a fume cupboard to mix the inks and solvents. This also includes space use to store high and low flashpoint solvents, since their vapor is combustible.
4. Using engineering controls entails the redesigning of a production process to reduce a hazard. In this case, the company should fix the multi-color format press, enable its stop buttons, and guard interlocks to reduce the risk of an accident when an employee cannot stop the machine. This also entails the construction and opening of windows, increasing ventilation outlets in the factory floor, office area, and storage areas.
5. Use of administrative controls entails the adoption of standards for factory operation, environmental, and health and safety practices. In this case, the company must adopt the health and safety standards set by the HSE for printing companies, environmental standards set by the government for waste management and disposal especially of the printing waste and inks. This involves the creation of a health and safety policy for the work place that describes how the company will manage safety and health. The policy also informs employees and stakeholders of the commitment to safety and health. This also entails the reduction and distribution of work to reduce the workloads, and renewing of the service contract for the air conditioner to have it fixed. Lastly, it involves the training of the employees on the health and safety rules, and printing processes and practices to reduce the level of semi-skilled workers.
6. Use of protective equipment for all employees and individuals in the production area. These are like gas and toxin masks, headphones and earplugs, gloves, overalls, boots, and glasses to reduce exposure to toxin vapors and fumes, spilt inks and solvents, or falling equipment.
Management Systems for Monitoring and Controlling Work Environment
One of the management systems the Printing Company can follow is the European Agency's Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards. The standards gives a guideline that can assist the company prepare its health and safety policy and improve the workplace conditions (Griffith & Bhutto 2008). The OSH standards gives guidelines to management on the increment of work processes, changing of work conditions to reduce hazards, and provision of safety and health in the workplace. The OSH standards offer solutions that allow management to account for health and safety principles at all operational levels. Moreover, it offers framework on which the management can create management approaches and models for the company's workplace management system (Griffith & Bhutto 2008). The advantage of the safety and health management system is the ability to improve employee and employer responsibility and participation in improving workplace environment. A second management system is the use of risk management and internal control systems to mitigate risks associated with engineering, administrative, and operational processes. A third management system is an environmental management system (EMS) to address environmental issues in the workplace. This system can be based on international standards for environment including ISO 14001:2004 (Griffith & Bhutto 2008). The standard will…