A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

September 20, 2017

NIOSH Studies 3-D Printer Emissions

Wear mask respiratory irritants in this area
Dust Mask Safety Sign
If your business uses 3-D printers, you'll be interested in a recent NIOSH study comparing emissions from 3-D and laser printers that found 3-D printers emit 14 chemicals that laser printers do not. Further, they found that 3-D printed items continued to emit chemicals after printing, raising questions about exposure in storage and other areas.

With the growing popularity of 3-D printers in the workplace, NIOSH wants to understand and address their potential effects on indoor air quality. A previous study by NIOSH and university researchers found that using the manufacturer-supplied cover on a 3-D printer decreased the amount of emissions containing ultrafine particles by two times, but the levels were still high.

For the current study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, researchers tested the most commonly used type of desktop 3-D printer, called the FDM, and two models of black and white laser printers. For the 3-D printers. They printed a hair comb using one of two types of plastic filaments, taking about 14 minutes to complete.

3-D Printers Compared to Laser Printers:

  • Certain chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), were significantly lower with laser printers compared to 3-D printers. 
  • The 3-D printers emitted 14 chemicals that laser printers did not emit, and 3-D printer emissions likely combined to form other chemicals. 
  • Even after printing, 3-D printed objects emitted the chemical styrene, indicating that exposure beyond the actual process of printing may be a concern in the workplace. 
  • Both printers emitted ultrafine particles that contained the toxic chemical chromium. 

Findings on 3-D Printers Include:

  • Total VOC (TVOC) emission rates were influenced by a printer malfunction, filament type and, to a lesser extent, by filament color. 
  • Rates were not influenced by the number of printer nozzles used or the manufacturer's provided cover. 
  • TVOC emission rates were significantly lower for the 3-D printer compared to the laser printers. 
  • A total of 14 VOCs were identified during 3-D printing that were not present during laser printing. 
  • Specific data on emision rates is included in the published study.

Researchers did not make any recommendations or draw any conclusions regarding workplace safety, but this research can help inform future studies aimed at measuring and controlling work-related exposure to 3-D printer emissions.

Learn More:

September 19, 2017

How to Comply with OSHA's Updated Walking-Working Surfaces Rule

Next Deadline is Near: November 17
Fall Protection Required

Late last year, OSHA published new standards for walking-working surfaces and fall protection in general industry workplaces. Much of the rule took effect on January 17, 2017, but OSHA gave employers additional time to comply with many of the provisions. For example:
  • Inspections and certifications of permanent anchorages used in rope descent systems must be completed by November 17, 2017.
  • New fall arrest or safety systems on fixed ladders longer than 24 feet aren't required until November 17, 2018.

The new rules address both horizontal and vertical surfaces, including roofs, floors, ramps, elevated walkways, stairs, ladders and scaffolding. The updated standards actually give employers greater flexibility in the means they use to protect workers and reflect current technology and best practices. They also create consistency with existing workplace-safety rules governing construction sites, simplifying training and supervision for contractors working in both environments.
OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. Approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites are impacted by the new rules, providing net benefits of more than $309 million.
The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have written an article that digs into the new standard and provides details on requirements for portable ladders, ropes and anchorage, scaffolding and required training. Check the full post here.

More Information:

September 14, 2017

OSHA Offers Worker Safety Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery

Emergencies like recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma can create a variety of hazards for workers in the impacted areas. The OSHA website has a variety of resources to help employers keep their workers safe when hurricanes and floods strike  - and during cleanup and recovery operations.

OSHA recently updated the Worker Safety and Health Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery page to provide information for employers and workers across industries, and for workers responding to emergencies.

Topics include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Floods
  • General response and recovery
  • PPE
  • Heat

September 12, 2017

NIOSH Releases New Software to Monitor Emergency Responder Health and Safety

severe weather shelter
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just announced the new ERHMS Info Manager™, a free software tool that tracks and monitors emergency response and recovery worker activities before, during and after their deployment to incidents such as natural disasters or other public health emergencies. 

ERHMS Info Manager software is designed to help emergency responder organizations implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework. The free software can be used by anyone involved in the deployment and protection of emergency responders, including: incident command staff, response organization leadership, health, safety and medical personnel and emergency responders.

Identify Exposures to Reduce Risks

NIOSH says significant gaps and deficiencies continue to exist in health monitoring and surveillance of emergency response workers, including police, fire, emergency medical personnel, cleanup, repair, restoration and recovery workers. The organization believes its new software can help.

September 6, 2017

ComplianceSigns Marks 8th Time on Inc. 5000 List

For the eighth consecutive year, ComplianceSigns, Inc. has been designated one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine, and has been honored as a Hall of Fame company.

With eight appearances on the list, ComplianceSigns has received the distinction of being named to the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame, a milestone less than 10 percent of Inc. 5000 honorees ever achieve. We achieved revenue growth of 54 percent over the past three years to earn a spot on the annual list. We rank as the seventh fastest-growing manufacturer in Illinois and 114th in the entire country. 

We are among just three Illinois manufacturers who have made the Inc. list five times or more. Manufacturers comprise less than 3 percent of the entire 2017 list, and just 32 U.S. manufacturers have made the list five times or more.

Our overall rank is 4,536. ComplianceSigns was named to the Inc. Honor Roll in 2014 after appearing on the list five times. Read our Inc 5000 Award details, or view our Inc. profile page.