America's printing industry has a new resource to help keep workers safe on the job - Ergonomics in the Printing Industry eTool - the latest interactive web-based training tool unveiled today by OSHA. The new eTool is a direct result of the agency's alliance with the Graphic Arts Coalition.

"This is an important new resource to help educate workers and employers on avoiding ergonomic-related injuries in the printing industry," said Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "It's designed to provide practical information that is based on the experience of others on how workers can make simple ergonomic improvements to avoid hazards on the job."

The eTool focuses on workers involved in printing processes who may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from workplace activities which may require them to work outside their physical capacities (e.g., lifting heavy items or lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures).

The first module of the eTool addresses the lithographic printing process. While there are significant variations in the process, the new tool simplifies the overall operation into three broad categories: prepress, press, and finishing and burdening. Users can access specific printing tasks, such as plate making and hand collating, for a description of each task and the potential hazards that have been identified for that job. The user can navigate within each task to become familiar with the hazards and to learn what others have identified as possible solutions.

The Graphic Arts Coalition includes the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association, Flexographic Technical Association, and the Gravure Association of America.