Cleaning Procedures for Printing Presses

Whether producing a magazine, book, or newspaper, your business strives to meet customer deadlines and deliver high-quality materials that are free of printing and color errors. To satisfy these demands, you need procedures for cleaning your printing press rollers that are effective and also safe.

Safe Cleaning Steps

There are procedures you can follow that will help maintain print quality and protect your employees when they are performing minor or major roll cleaning.

  • Risk assessment procedures: Perform a risk assessment that identifies all cleaning-related tasks and associated hazards. The assessment must be sufficiently detailed to capture and address any foreseeable, unusual situations, as serious injuries are often the result of a worker reacting to something out of the ordinary.
    • Consider all roll-cleaning and minor maintenance operations.
    • Require a standard lockout procedure for any activity that’s not routine, repetitive, and integral to production.
  • Service procedures: For roll cleaning and other activities such as adjustments, lubrication, and roll changing, use the “inch-safe-service” technique. This procedure requires that control systems and stations for sheet- and web-fed presses have STOP/SAFE/READY switches at each designated control station. Here’s a sample procedure:
  1. The machine must not be cleaned or serviced when its components are running. Before performing any minor servicing, stop the machine and make sure the drive control is on STOP/SAFE.
  2. Before inching the press, position all employees so they’re not endangered by the machine re-energizing or starting. Also, position all service tools so they can’t fall into the machine and create additional hazards.
  3. Use safety alert signals for presses serviced by more than one person or in cases where it’s possible for another employee to step close to the machine without being seen by the operator.
  4. If more than one service person is involved, each must have continuous, exclusive control of the operation of the press.
  5. Use the INCH control to move the machine’s components to their desired positions. Immediately afterward, place the drive control on STOP/SAFE before beginning or resuming the cleaning or minor servicing.
  6. Repeat steps No. 2 through No. 5 until the cleaning or minor servicing is complete.

The inch-safe-service procedure has more inherent risk than if the power to the machine were locked/tagged out. Workers who perform or are otherwise affected by this procedure must be thoroughly trained and their behaviors must be closely monitored to make sure they correctly follow the procedure. Anyone in a position of authority should be fully committed to following and rigorously enforcing the procedure.

Meeting printing deadlines while delivering high-quality results is paramount to satisfying your customers. But don’t let the focus on speed interfere with your ability to clean your printing presses in a way that not only ensures quality but also maintains a safe workplace.

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The illustrations, instructions, and principles in this material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations nor to identify all potential risks or requirements.