Safe Work Australia Chair Tom Phillips recently announced the release of two significant reports on the risks and health effects of printer particle emissions in the workplace. Could this be the next asbestos-type product?
“The two reports, Nanoparticles from Printer Emissions in Workplace Environments and A Brief Review of the Health Risks Associated with Laser Printer Emissions Measured as Particles are a breakthrough in the nanotechnology field,” said Phillips.
Research for the Nanoparticles from Printer Emissions in Workplace Environments report examined particle emissions from laser printers in office environments. A total of 107 laser printers were examined in offices across Queensland. The majority of the nanoparticle exposure experienced by workers over the course of a working day did not come from printers but from other sources, for example vehicle emissions infiltrating the building.
The report was commissioned under the Safe Work Australia Nanotechnology Work Health and Safety Program, funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The report research was undertaken by Queensland University of Technology and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
To understand the potential health effects of particles measured in this report Safe Work Australia commissioned Toxikos Pty, Ltd. to undertake a review. A Brief Review of the Health Risks Associated with Laser Printer Emissions Measured as Particles examined results and assessed them against national and international air quality guidelines and exposure standards.
Phillips said the review found that the risk of direct toxicity and health effects from exposure to laser printer particle emissions for most people is negligible but people responsive to unusual or unexpected odors may detect and react to the presence of emissions.
“Workers should still attempt to minimize their exposure to printer particles. The nanoparticles from Printer Emissions in Workplace Environments report provides precautionary advice on how offices can assess and control printer particle emissions in their workplace,” said Phillips.
The research report, review and more information on the Nanotechnology Work Health and Safety Program is available at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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