Category: Workplace Safety

How to Choose What 5S Industrial Printer to Buy?

VNM8 industrial printer

When buying an industrial printer for your business, you need to consider several factors; you don’t just buy on a whim and hope for the best. If you choose the wrong printer, you will end up disappointed in the way it works or the way it prints. 

With hundreds of 5S printers available on the market today, you should take your time before purchasing one. While they all perform similar tasks, not all have the capability to produce the printed items you need. 

No matter what you’re after there’s a printer for you. This article will discuss what an industrial printer is and what factors you should consider when finding the best one for your needs. 

What is an Industrial Printer?

VNM8 industrial printer

Industrial printers are created to withstand demanding environments. These printers are made to print signs, labels, and tags to support the implementation of 5S and OSHA standards in your workplace.

Unlike dot matrix and inkjet printers, industrial sign printers use a heated printhead to create extremely durable images and text on premade signs or vinyl media.

Using direct thermal or thermal transfer printing makes a finished product that won’t smudge or rub off, even when placed in the most high-traffic areas. That’s why they’re mainly used in manufacturing, warehouse, and factory settings, where signs and labels need to be extremely durable for 5S purposes and minimizing workplace hazards

Some industrial label printers can handle printing at high volumes, typically around several thousand to over 10,000 prints a day. Other printers are portable and can print signs and labels on demand, wherever you need them. Some printers will require the use of a PC to create designs, while others do not.

safety signs reminders

What to Consider When Choosing an Industrial Printer for Your Business

With so many features and factors to consider when purchasing an industrial printer, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But no need to worry. The first step you need to take is to understand your printing needs. So, when evaluating various options, here are the things you should consider: 

Cost-efficiency

Does buying an industrial printer save your company money in the long run? Are you spending a lot of time and money finding and ordering the right signs for your facility? These are just some questions you should ask before you go ahead and make a big purchase. If the cost can justify the value it will provide, an investment like this can be the best way to go for your company. 

Printing Capability

Apart from the cost and value, you should consider how many labels and barcodes your company needs to print in a day.

Do you need to print your own designs on pre-made signs and vinyl media on a regular basis? Would you like to be able to print them from anywhere in your facility?

If so, you need to look for a printer that can accommodate your needs. Check the type of signs and labels the printer can produce and see if it can cover your daily needs.

Furthermore, you should also consider the colors you need for your prints. If you don’t need a lot of colors, finding a printer that can print the exact colors you need that are OSHA compliant for signs is enough. 

Print Quality

Another thing you should consider is the quality of prints you’ll get. Even if the printer can accommodate the number of printing jobs you need a day, it’s still no use if the quality doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that the printer can produce prints that can adhere to 5S and OSHA standards so you won’t have to worry about your labels. 

Printer Size

Some industrial printers are large enough to take a lot of space in your office. If you have a smaller workspace, buying a huge printer can take away valuable space. This can be a massive hassle for your workers. If this is your case, buying a smaller industrial printer that can sit on top of a desk is your best option.

While it may not produce larger signs, it will still produce high-quality prints. There are also printers that are not only portable, but they also don’t require computers. These printers can be easily moved throughout the facility so you can make safety signs and labels wherever you need them. 

Sustainability

Whatever electronic device you’re purchasing, you need to make sure that it’s durable enough to withstand the work you need it to do. Printers are not an exception.

For example, many companies think that buying an old printer will save them money. But in the long run, repairs and maintenance can be more expensive than buying a new one. Modern industrial printers may seem like a considerable investment, but they can give you the reliability you need from them.

However, always check the reviews before purchasing to ensure that the printer you choose is as stable as you need it to be. 

Ease of use

Another important thing you should consider when buying an industrial printer is how easy it is to use. Many people who work in offices don’t have the technical capacity to understand complicated machines.

So, make sure that you’ll buy something that can cater to even the most technology-challenged person in your office. Find something that’s simple. From the login, connection, and printing, make sure that they don’t need to go through tedious and complicated processes. 

At the same time, check the interface of the device. Touchscreens, color screens, and screens that have high brightness settings should be on your list. You also need to consider one with a multi-language interface, especially if English isn’t the first language in your country. 

Uses and Applications

Apart from printing, do you need to cover other tasks in your business, such as scanning, memory storage, file transfer, etc.? If so, then many industrial printers offer more than just printing services and can perform other tasks mentioned above. List down all the things you need, and find a printer that can support those. 

Brand

The brand plays an integral role in your device’s reliability and durability. While famous brands may have an already established reputation, they can be expensive compared to lesser-known brands. But popularity doesn’t always equate to reliability.

In fact, many less famous brands can provide the same or better performance and dependability at a much lower cost than industry-leading brands. Choose wisely. 

Warranty

Warranty is a crucial factor to look at when purchasing any expensive machine. You don’t want to get stuck paying to repair a new printer that has problems. At the same time, you should check the coverage of the warranty.

What issues will the manufacturer cover? How long is the machine covered for? This will give you the information you need to properly take care of your industrial printer and get help fixing it if needed. 

Manufacturer/Dealer Support

While warranty gives you peace of mind, manufacturer support provides you with the assistance you need from purchase to after-sales. If there are any technical problems that the manual can’t answer, you need the dealer to be available to answer specific questions and help you fix some issues.

no unauthorized access sign 

Why is Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer a Good Option for You?

Among hundreds of industrial printers available on the market, the Cobra System’s VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer is one of the few that delivers on its promise. This high-quality printing solution is a stand-alone industrial label and sign printer that requires no computer.

It is easy to use and comes with built-in templates to make all your labeling applications easier and faster than ever. In addition, it is reliable, durable, and the most cost-effective industrial printer you can find. 

If you want to know more about the VNM Signmaker Industrial Printer, contact us today!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety

6 Types of Workplace Safety Hazards: Identify, Prevent, Solve

workplace safety hazards card

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO,) more than 340 million work-related accidents and 160 million illnesses happen every year. To make matters worse, this number continues to grow over time. While you might not realize it, the reality is that safety hazards exist in every workplace. Even something as simple as wet floors can lead to accidents, injuries, or death if not addressed.

Given this, it’s essential to assess your workplace thoroughly to identify the hazards and put in place proper safety measures. Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of what hazards their workers are subject to, so here’s a quick guide to help you out. As they say—people are at the heart of your business, so it’s essential to protect them at all times.

workplace safety protective equipment sign board

What does OSHA mean? 

In 1970, the US government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide workplace safety standards for businesses and employers. This act led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s a federal agency in charge of establishing these standards to ensure employees have safe working conditions. 

OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires all employers to create a hazard-free workplace to protect their employees from harm. OSHA health standards prescribed for general industry cover most businesses. But there are also more specific standards for high-risk industries like construction, maritime, and agriculture since workers here are more vulnerable to hazards.

Safety Hazards in the Workplace According to OSHA 

You might be wondering—what might a safety hazard include? The best way to answer this would be to go through the six main OSHA hazard categories. Here’s a quick run-through of each type to get an idea of what to look for in your workplace risk assessment. 

Safety Hazards

man slipping while at work

Safety hazards include substances and conditions that create unsafe working conditions and increase risks for accidents, injuries, and illnesses. These are the most common types of hazards since you’ll find them in every workplace.

Examples include:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords
  • Spills on floors
  • Machinery with moving parts
  • Confined spaces 

Biological Hazards

gloved hand holding a biohazard transparent bag

Biological hazards are substances that threaten the well-being of living organisms—in this case, people. They’re often found in more specific jobs and industries that involve working with people, animals, and plants. For example, individuals working in laboratories, hospitals, or healthcare centers will be most susceptible to this hazard.

Examples include exposure to:

  • Bacteria, mold, and mildew
  • Spores and fungi
  • Animal droppings
  • Blood and bodily fluids
  • Insect bites 
  • Dangerous plants 
  • Bioactive substances

Biological hazards can be particularly dangerous compared to other hazards since long-term exposure can result in severe health risks. Some substances can be so life-threatening that they cause asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases that may lead to death. 

Physical Hazards

workers wearing protective equipment against chemicals

Physical hazards are environmental factors that can injure your workers—even without direct contact.

Examples of physical hazards include:

  • Constant exposure to sunlight and UV rays
  • Extreme temperatures 
  • Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Lights and lasers
  • Microwave and radio-frequency
  • High-pressure or low-pressure environments

One of the most common examples of physical hazards is noisy machinery and equipment that can harm your workers’ hearing abilities. To offer some perspective, occupational exposures are the cause of 24% of hearing difficulties in US workers—that’s millions of workers who lose part of their hearing due to hazardous noise, which can be prevented in the first place. Given this staggering number, it’s crucial to provide adequate hearing protection to avoid irreversible hearing problems. 

Ergonomic Hazards

woman setting boxes in order

An ergonomic hazard is present in jobs where working conditions can put a strain on employees’ bodies. It can lead to various musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs), which make up the largest segment of work-related injuries and account for 30% of workers’ compensation costs.

Common ergonomic hazards include the following:

  • Poor posture 
  • Lifting heavy objects 
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Poorly adjusted workstations
  • Repetition of movements
  • Manual labor like pushing and pulling

Unfortunately, these hazards are often harder to detect since the effects usually don’t present themselves immediately. Instead, they tend to progress and build over time. But if you’re familiar with the common ergonomic hazards, you can take action and prevent workers from developing MSDs. 

Chemical Hazards

man wearing personal protective equipment

As the term suggests, chemical hazards refer to toxic chemicals and substances that can cause injuries, illnesses, and possibly even death among your workers. Some substances can be so potent that they can cause health issues from mere inhalation, while others need direct contact. Here are some examples of the hazard:

  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products and acids
  • Vapors and fumes
  • Gasoline and explosive chemicals
  • Flammable substances like carbon monoxide

Similar to biological hazards, chemical hazards come with a ton of risks, more so if workers are sensitive to them. Chemical burns, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, and poisoning are just some of the many dangers that threaten your workers. Thus, it’s a non-negotiable to provide employees with proper protective gear if your workplace has chemical hazards.

Work Organization Hazards

a man separating two colleagues having a heated argument

Many are usually familiar with the above 5 hazards in the workplace, but there’s actually a sixth category to watch out for. Work organization hazards refer to stressors—any working condition that can cause stress to employees. They can be present in any workplace, but lone workers are especially vulnerable since they tend to feel isolated. To understand these hazards better, here are the most common examples you should keep an eye on:

  • Workplace violence and aggression
  • Intense workload demands
  • Sexual harassment
  • Flexibility 
  • Bullying
  • Social relations 
  • Control regarding decisions

Examples of Hazards in the Workplace by Industry

Now that you’re more familiar with the many types of hazards that exist in the workplace, here are concrete workplace hazard examples to show you how these risks manifest in different industries. This should give you a better idea of what risks to watch out for in your workplace.

Raw Materials Industry

cantilever loading logs

The raw materials industry is in charge of extracting and processing inputs and raw materials used for manufacturing. Businesses in the industry specialize in a particular type of material, such as steel, aluminum, copper, lumber, gasoline, plastics, ceramics, porcelain, or others.

The health hazards in this industry will vary based on the material being handled, but here are the main types to watch out for:

  • Noise from equipment
  • High temperatures
  • Exposure to chemicals 

Manufacturing and Construction Industry

man looking at construction site

The manufacturing industry transforms raw materials into new products. Conversely, the construction industry works on designing, building, and maintaining buildings, infrastructure, and industrial properties. When you think of health and safety hazards, these two will probably come to mind since you always hear about accidents happening on the job.

Both industries involve working environments with high places, machinery, and chemicals, so they’re unsurprisingly prone to many hazards. Employees are particularly vulnerable to the following:

  • Slips and trips
  • Falls from heights
  • Electrical shocks
  • Hearing damage from loud noise
  • Confined spaces like tanks
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Injuries from repetitive movements 
  • Handling flammable substances 
  • Moving objects 

Service Industry

customer service executives staring at computer screens

The service industry differs from the manufacturing industry in that it creates value through intangible products or services. For example, marketing agencies don’t sell products directly to customers. Instead, they offer their expertise, knowledge, and skills in crafting marketing plans and campaigns for clients.

Service businesses are extremely susceptible to ergonomic hazards —workers tend to stay in the same position for prolonged times, perform repeated movements, and maintain awkward postures, so you can imagine the strain that’s placed on them. Beyond these issues, there are also other risks like:

  • Chemicals from cleaning agents
  • Fires
  • Mental health issues
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Biohazards from toxic waste 

Information Services Industry

man looking at clipboard

The information services industry specializes in collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing different types of information. Examples of businesses in this industry include business process outsourcing (BPOs), consulting, research and development, and others. Generally, companies seek the help of this industry for their expertise and knowledge.

Like the service industry, information service jobs are also prone to ergonomic hazards. Many times, workers stay seated in one place for a long time, increasing the risk for back injury or neck pain. Other hazards common in the industry include:

  • Hearing difficulties from workplace noise
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Electrical hazards 
  • Heavy machinery 

Human Services Industry

caregiver assisting an elderly with a cane

The human services industry is a sub-category under the broader services industry. It covers the businesses that deliver services to benefit and help people, address their needs, and improve their quality of life. Well-known examples include child welfare services, elderly assistance, counseling, personal care services, and the like.

Since this industry usually involves close contact with other people, workers tend to be at risk of contracting biological hazards like mold and pathogens. Aside from this, here are other possible hazards in the industry:

  • Workplace stress and violence
  • Repetitive movement
  • Awkward posture
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Lifting and carrying people
  • Chronic fatigue 

7 Ways to Avoid Workplace Safety Hazards 

Here are some helpful ways to avoid workplace safety hazards. The best practices will vary for every work area, but these should give you a good starting point.

  • Implement a health and safety program for workers
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment, if applicable
  • Monitor employees’ health condition regularly
  • Adjust working stations to ensure proper ergonomics
  • Find industrial printers to make hazard safety signs
  • Inspect electrical systems regularly for potential hazards
  • Perform regular maintenance on your equipment

Beyond this, you can also consider finding a company that specializes in workplace safety solutions for helpful tools to monitor workplace safety effectively.

man using a forklift

FAQs About Safety Hazards in the Workplace 

What factors affect safety and risk?

The main factors affecting workplace safety and risk are people, equipment, processes, materials, and environment. For one, it’s important to educate your employees about the importance of safe work procedures. Likewise, the safety of your tools and machines, materials, and process design can affect the severity of workplace risk. The last factor—environment—is more external, but it’s the main cause of physical hazards. 

How to report a safety hazard?

The federal law protects workers and grants them the right to a healthy workplace. Thus, anyone who is subject to safety hazards without protective measures may file a confidential complaint with OSHA online, in person, through telephone, or through email. The agency will then conduct an inspection to assess the matter and take proper action. 

How do you correct a safety hazard at work?

Managing risks in the workplace starts with identifying hazards. Once you spot a hazard that hasn’t been addressed, assess the risk to determine its potential impact and the workers who are most likely to be affected. From there, you can come up with procedures to fix or mitigate the hazard. If you can’t eliminate it completely, consider substituting or isolating the hazard, providing PPEs, or adjusting work practices. 

Who is responsible for correcting safety hazards?

Employers are in charge of managing safety hazards and correcting them accordingly. As mandated by OSHA, employers need to conduct assessments for hazard identification and install measures to provide a hazard-free environment for workers. In most cases—especially in high-risk industries—companies will delegate the work to a safety department that oversees workplace safety and protocols. 

How should hazards be reported in the workplace?

Should employees notice any hazards in the workplace, they should immediately report this to their supervisor or safety manager, if applicable. If you don’t receive a response from them, you can escalate the issue to the OSHA. As much as possible, try to settle the issue internally before moving up to the government.

Reduce Workplace Safety Hazards With Cobra Systems’ Solutions

While there are many decisions involved in running a business, you can’t ever discount the importance of your people and their safety. It’s extremely important to highlight the safety hazards in your workplace and put in place countermeasures to protect your employees from them. 

By emphasizing the mitigation of workplace safety hazards, you can contribute to reducing the hundreds of millions of work accidents and injuries that occur each year.

If you need someone to help you print safety signages and labels, Cobra Systems offers high-quality printers for workplace safety purposes. Contact us or give us a call today at 805-243-3335 to learn more!

Filed under: 5S Methodology, Blog, News, Workplace Safety