American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.
Jan 1, 2005 12:00 AM
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"I can throw away my used shop towels or cleaning
Fact: Cleaning solvents are the most common hazardous waste products generated by small printers. Because the solvent is typically used with a shop towel, cotton pad or press cleanup mat, these wastes also can be classified as hazardous. All states have adopted a policy for reusable shop towels that lets users avoid classifying the towels as hazardous waste if a policy is followed. While requirements vary by state, users generally can't saturate towels with solvent, are required to keep towels in closed containers, and must have a contract with a launderer under which the launderer uses its own truck to pick up and return the towels. Some states require the containers to be labeled, and at least one requires notification.
Did you know? If solvent is present, disposable towels can't simply be thrown away as trash—they must be collected and handled as a hazardous waste. EPA has a proposed regulation that will address both reusable and disposable towels. Assuming the regulation is finalized as proposed, this means that disposable towels can be thrown away without violating any regulations—if the towels meet certain requirements, such as the amount of solvents on them and the absence of certain EPA-identified solvents.
"I can dump my waste fountain solution or camera waste
down the drain. No one ever told me I couldn't, and besides, my
salesman says it's biodegradable."
Fact: Printers are responsible for all wastes generated, even wastewater discharges. If the printer discharges wastewater to the drain, the local sewer authority must be contacted to determine whether the waste is acceptable. Permission must be obtained prior to discharging. The local sewer authority will determine what is acceptable. Most sewer authorities have a "sewer code" that sets the limits regarding the types and concentrations of pollutants acceptable for treatment.
Permission forms can include a letter from the pretreatment coordinator, test data indicating the effluent meets the sewer code limits, or a discharge permit. Some states and local sewer authorities require their industrial dischargers —which includes all printers, regardless of size—to obtain a wastewater discharge permit.
If permission is granted to discharge wastewater to the sewer, then silver recovery is usually required for printers using film or silver-halide-based direct imaging plate systems to meet the silver discharge limit. If the printer has adopted a digital workflow and is directly imaging plates, many of these systems have developers that exceed a pH of 12.5, which makes them a hazardous waste. The plate effluents must be neutralized prior to discharge. The typical acceptable pH range set by sewer authorities is six to nine.
Under no circumstances can any industrial wastewater be discharged to a septic system. Septic systems are designed to treat sanitary wastes only.
Clearing the air
"EPA only regulates the big printers."
Fact: Because all sizes of printers are classified as manufacturers, virtually every EPA regulation applies. The degree in which the regulations apply depends on factors including geographical location and the thresholds set under each regulation. Also, many states and local government agencies directly regulate small printers.
The most common regulations that must be met include:
Don't overlook liquid automatic blanket wash waste
Have you evaluated your blanket wash waste lately? Many new presses feature automatic blanket washes. Because the waste blanket wash typically is hazardous, the amount being generated per month could change printers' status from Conditionally Exempt to Small Quantity and from Small Quantity to Large Quantity Generator. Printers who have overlooked increased blanket wash waste also could inadvertently fail to comply with the additional requirements of the next highest classification. Several printers have been inspected and given notices of violation.
Catching up on compliance issues
AMERICAN PRINTER is pleased to be the publication sponsor for the 10th annual National Environmental, Health and Safety Conference (NEHS) for the Graphic Communications Industries. The conference will be held March 6-8, 2005, at the Renaissance Tampa Hotel Intl.'s Plaza (Tampa, FL).
Major topics to be addressed include:
The NEHS Conference is a combined effort of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF), Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), Gravure Association of America (GAA), and the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM).
For more information contact Jim Workman at (800) 910-4283 or see www.nehsconference.org.
Ergonomics: a print-specific program
In 2001, Congress halted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Dept. of Labor's proposed ergonomic standard, prompting OSHA to work with associations such as GATF/PIA (Sewickley, PA) and SGIA (Fairfax, VA) to share best practices and industry knowledge. (See "Material handling: the bindery's best-kept secret," September 2002.) OSHA provided GATF/PIA with grant money to create The Ergonomics Training Program, which focuses on specific problems and solutions for the graphic-arts industry. The $79 kit, published this past September, includes "The Ergonomics Guidebook," a Leadership Guide, pocket cards, fact sheets, a CD-ROM and a video, "Work Smarter, Not Harder."
Most ergonomic solutions are practical, inexpensive methods of readjusting workstations or modifying behaviors to reduce risk of injury. The GATF guidebook walks managers and safety personnel from front-office tasks through postpress activities, suggesting ways to prevent injuries from contact stress, vibration, and awkward postures or motions. The video illustrates ergonomic concerns and simple actions for prevention as well as avoidance of stresses, strains and other physical problems that can develop over time.
For more information or to order The Ergonomics Training Program, call (800) 662-3916 or visit the online bookstore at gain.net.
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