American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.

How safe is your printing plant? A safety checklist

Oct 1, 2001 12:00 AM

         Subscribe in NewsGator Online   Subscribe in Bloglines

Printing Industries Assn. of the Heartland (PIAH) worked in conjuction with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Dept. of Labor to develop the nation’s first printing-specific Comprehensive Safety and Health Program (CSHP). Brian Rutherford is director of environmental health and safety for PIAH. In his role, Rutherford coordinates PIAH’s PrintGuard safety training with printers on site, using site-specific materials. He also administers safety audits and assists PIAH members with OSHA inspections. Rutherford describes the CSHP as, "Total Quality Management applied to the world of safety."
According to Rutherford, companies can gauge the effectiveness of their CSHP with this checklist.
Management leadership and involvement:

  • Has management approved a company-wide safety policy?

  • Do managers attend safety committee meetings and review accident records?

  • Does management understand the basics of safety management and OSHA compliance?

  • Employee participation:

  • Is the safety committee operating effectively (through regular meetings that represent all departments, with rotating participation)?

  • Are responsibilities delegated to appropriate employees?

  • Are supervisors and employees empowered to fulfill those responsibilities?

  • Does management carefully review safety committee and individual employee recommendations?

Hazard identification:

  • Are regular safety audits conducted?

  • Does the company investigate accidents?

  • Does the company analyze potential hazards of planned facilities, process, materials and equipment?

  • Does the company evaluate injury and illness trends over time?

Hazard control:

  • The first option is to eliminate an identified hazard.

  • The second, to control the hazard.

  • Take appropriate action in a timely manner.

  • Address issue of on-site first aid and identify nearby medical facilities.

Employee training:

  • Conduct live training with information specific to your worksite and its hazards (video-taped training is not adequate, according to OSHA).

  • Address safety and health responsibilities of all personnel, whether salaried or hourly.

  • Use post-training tests to ensure that employees understand what was presented.

  • Keep records of the training, including participating employees, area(s) covered, dates of training and a copy of the post test.

Program evaluation:

  • Keep pertinent records, including OSHA 200 logs, work comp loss runs, annual work comp experience modified, training records and documentation of changes in the plant related to safety.

  • Obtain injury rates from similar firms, using OSHA’s website ( or your workers’ compensation insurance provider.

  • Use a management/employee team to identify trends. The management/employee team is usually a group of managers and employees charged with overseeing the safety process at the plant. The size varies with the size of the company: A printer with 20 employees may only have a committee of four, while a firm with 200 employees may put eight to 12 individuals on the committee. The key, in any case, is to ensure that all departments are represented.

"The team approach is great because it not only spreads out the workload, but it gives you optimal results," says Rutherford. He points out that when employees have a chance to actively participate in setting company policy, and believe that management is listening, they are more inclined to follow the firm’s safety procedures. The team approach also ensures that safety is not a one-time program but an ongoing process, and offers accountability in that the group can ensure follow-through at all levels.