Health and safety
Other Hazards Ofﬁce equipment hazards
The use of copiers, laser printers, fax machines, binding machines, booklet makers, and related
ofﬁce equipment can adversely affect indoor air quality (IAQ), create noise, and present other
High-speed copiers and equip-
hazards. Problems may arise if equipment is used on or near staff members’ desks, in small rooms,
ment that binds or collates can be
noisy, reaching noise levels above in areas with poor ventilation, is poorly maintained, or is used frequently or for lengthy runs.
75 decibels, A scale [dB(A)], where
60 dB(A) would be more appropri-
ate. Such noise, especially when
Chemical hazards Other ofﬁce equipment
• Machines that are used occasionally
should be located in well-ventilated rooms
While inhalation exposure to any or within 10 feet of an exhaust vent.
continual, can cause irritation and • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
stress to nearby staff. one chemical is likely to be within le- Over 50 VOCs have been detected • Do not locate equipment on or near a
gal limits on air contaminants, there is in ofﬁce equipment. VOCs can cause staff person’s desk or workstation.
concern about the health effects of low
Ultraviolet light level exposures to a complex mixture.
cancer; kidney, liver, and brain dam- • Locate the machine in an area where
age; and damage to the nervous, the effect of noise will be minimal. Use
Fluorescent, metal halide or quartz reproductive, and immune systems.
exposure lamps are commonly
Ozone gas sound absorbent material as needed.
Copiers and laser printers pro- • Carbon monoxide (CO): CO is pro- New equipment
used in copiers. They can cause
duce ozone through the high volt- duced when toner is heated with an
eye irritation and headache after inadequate air supply. Effects include • Ask the district to choose low ozone
imaging, if viewed directly. Always age of their “corona wires” that
headaches, drowsiness, faintness, and emission equipment that has an
apply a charge to the paper so the
keep the cover down during use. an increased pulse rate. activated carbon ﬁlter ﬁtted to its
ink will cling to it. Ozone is color-
exhaust. Only accept machines with
less with a pungent odor. In high • Oxides of Nitrogen (NO and NO2): These
Heat and burns concentrations, it can cause eye, are produced when there is a spark in
clear information on ﬁlter changing
The hot, dry air produced by these nose, throat, and lung irritation, electrostatic copiers and printers. Effects
machines is likely to be responsible coughing, shortness of breath, head- are similar to those produced by CO. Chemical hazard
aches, upset stomach, and possibly communication
for sore eyes and throats. Improved
ventilation may help. Burns from
reproductive and cancer hazards.
People with respiratory ailments are
Action points for Ensure the district meets its
hot components are also a hazard
when clearing paper jams. Non-
particularly sensitive. local associations combined requirements under the
N.J. Right to Know (RTK) Act and
metallic tongs can be used. Toner and developer The local association should work the Public Employees Occupational
Heat triggers a chemical reaction with its UniServ rep to ensure that Safety and Health (PEOSH) Hazard
For more information in the toner or ink creating various
chemicals depending on the toner’s
the following steps are taken to
protect the health of school staff:
Communication Standard to:
• Develop and implement a written
New Jersey Hazardous Substance composition, its additives and im- hazard communication program.
purities, and temperature. Chemi- Health problems
Fact Sheets (HSFS) are available in • Train staff who work regularly with ofﬁce
cals emanate from the equipment • Have staff who work near ofﬁce
English for more than 1,600 chemi- and from fresh copies. equipment on a regular basis com- equipment about health effects and safe
cals, including these that may be plete the Work-Related Health Prob- handling procedures at the time of initial
released from copiers: bisphenol Very fine powder can be released, assignment, including all chemicals.
lems Report on pages 204 to 206 of
particularly if the equipment lacks
A, carbon black, carbon monoxide, the NJEA Health and Safety Manual. • Identify and list all hazardous chemi-
contained toner/developer systems
ethyl benzene, nitrogen dioxide, and automatic shut down devices cals in the school, including copier and
ozone, styrene, toluene, and xylene. Maintenance printer supplies.
on waste compartments, or dur-
They are also available in Spanish ing maintenance or when refilling • Ensure the district has a maintenance
• Develop a central ﬁle where RTK
for more than 600 chemicals. They the drum. Look for toner on walls, contract that provides for monthly
information is kept.
are available free online at web. servicing, including changing ozone
floors, or air vents near the machine.
ﬁlters. Regular maintenance, such as • Complete and submit a Right to Know
doh.state.nj.us/rtkhsfs/indexfs. Dust may irritate the respiratory removing dust from corona shields Survey for each school every year.
aspx or call the RTK Program at tract. The polymer-type plastic res- and ﬁlter and brush replacements, can
609-984-2202. • Make Material Safety Data Sheets
ins found in many toners can cause reduce the levels of ozone produced. (MSDS) readily available to staff dur-
allergic reactions such as skin
• A maintenance log should be kept for ing each work shift and in their work
The Hazard Communication Check- rashes and burning sensations in
areas. The district must obtain these
each machine and be available to staff.
list is used by PEOSH inspectors. the eyes on repeated contact. Con-
from their vendors.
It is available at www.state.nj.us/ tact and inhalation can be avoided Location and ventilation
by using toner in cartridges that • Make N.J. Hazardous Substance Fact
health/eoh/peoshweb/hazcom- • Large-volume equipment should be
can be fitted directly to the copier. Sheets (HSFS) readily available to
check.pdf or by calling the PEOSH isolated with its own outdoor exhaust employees. The district must obtain
Program at 609-984-1863. Where a risk of skin contact or ventilation system. This area should these from the RTK Program.
inhalation exists, workers handling have at least 0.5 cubic feet per minute
cartridges should be provided with (cfm) outdoor air supply per square • Ensure that all containers entering the
disposable gloves and respirators. foot of ﬂoor space. Air from the room workplace are properly labeled.
Carbon black should be treated as a should not be recirculated elsewhere
carcinogen because it often contains in the building.
impurities known to be carcinogens.
6 N E W J E R S E Y E D U C AT I O N A S S O C I AT I O N