Tedious health and saftey issue

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Vaneigemappreci...
Offline
Joined: 23-01-04
Dec 20 2006 10:32
Tedious health and saftey issue

In my office i sit next to (within a foot) a HP Colour Laserjet 4600din printer, its about 2ft high and pretty stocky and sits on the desk next to my face. Everytime it prints (probably about 200-300 pages a day) it kicks out quite a pungent smell. Now for the past 7 odd weeks ive had a nasty cough, which causes me to cough up huge globbules of phlemn (sorry for the detail!). I only ever get this cough during the week and during work hours and probably an hour after leaving work. Apart from having a few cigarettes on the weekend i'm fairly fit and healthy but this cough is really beginning to annoy me and i'm pretty sure its the printer (its vents are literally about a foot away from my face, at head level) or the fumes from the ink that are causing the cough.

When ive been able to sit at another desk the cough has almost stopped, some guy came in the other day and when i told him about it he said that it was a health and safety risk, i've told my boss and he seems to think i'm taking the piss, now i dont really want to cause a massive fuss, not because i dont want to be an inconvenience i obviously couldnt give a shit, but because it being a temporary job i think theyd sooner discontinue my employment than suffer the burden of moving the printer!

Any ideas what the best course of action is?

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Dec 20 2006 10:37

That machine will be kicking out a phenomenal amount of ozone, so you definitely shouldn't be sitting that close to it. And that's in addition to the fumes & shit.

When you say "temporary," are you on a fixed term, or is it open-ended?

Vaneigemappreci...
Offline
Joined: 23-01-04
Dec 20 2006 10:52

open-ended mate, i dont know any further than 2 weeks ahead normally, at this moment in time i dont know if i'll be back in the new year.

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Dec 20 2006 10:57

As a short-term, non-to the barricades! solution, are there any other desks you could sit at further away?

Also, this will be affecting you co-workers too -- maybe have quiet words with them, so see if anyone else is getting the same symptoms.

Here's some ammunition for you: -

Quote:
Chemicals
Ozone: this gas is produced during the high voltage electrical discharge in photocopiers and laser printers. It is highly toxic and possesses a sweet smelling odour and if you can detect its presence then the level is too high. Though ozone can degrade quite rapidly in the atmosphere, this process can be inhibited by high humidity, temperature and by some effects of office furnishings.

Selenium & cadmium sulphide: some copiers use a drum impregnated with these chemicals. The gas they emit, especially when hot, can cause throat irritation and sensitisation to exposed workers. This is mostly a risk to maintenance staff when cleaning or grinding the surface of the drum.

Nitrogen oxide: this gas may be produced when there is a spark in electrostatic photocopiers - its effects on people are similar to those produced by carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide: this gas is produced when toner (containing Carbon Black) is heated in an inadequate air supply. In an insufficient ventilated environment this can induce headaches, drowsiness, faintness and increased pulse rate and carbon monoxide can cross the placenta and affect the unborn child.

Toners: they are usually a combination of synthetic resin and Carbon Black frequently with other supplements.

Carbon Black is categorised as a ’nuisance dust’, (it is only mildly toxic in itself) but will contain impurities that are carcinogenic.

Toners should be handled with caution, protective gloves should be used, dust release minimised and instructions carefully observed. Exposure to bare skin can cause itchiness and other health effects can include headaches and irritated eyes. Maintenance staff are at risk from repeated contact which can result in skin and eye sensitisation.

http://www.tssa.org.uk/article-47.php3?id_article=982

Vaneigemappreci...
Offline
Joined: 23-01-04
Dec 20 2006 11:06
Quote:
As a short-term, non-to the barricades! solution

ohhh, i was hoping you would say that there was some legislation that would entitle me to through the damn thing out the window grin

There is a lot of illness in this office but i'm the only one who sits directly next to the vents on the printer and theres no one else with the same kind of symptoms that i'm aware of.

cheers for the information, i'm going to ask how long my stay is likely to be before bring it up again.

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Dec 20 2006 11:13
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Quote:
As a short-term, non-to the barricades! solution

ohhh, i was hoping you would say that there was some legislation that would entitle me to through the damn thing out the window grin

Sadly, there is legislation that entitles you not to work in an unsafe, unhealthy working environment -- the Health & Safety at Work Act. It's just that the bosses ignore it. This was why I suggested talking to your co-workers about it, because it's harder to ignore a load of people than it is just one.

As I'm sure you know, the H&S legislation can be quite a powerful tool for kicking things off at work, but (gasp!) it's no substitute for organising.

Vaneigemappreci...
Offline
Joined: 23-01-04
Dec 20 2006 11:19

cheers mate, i'm gonna bring it up with my boss and if nothing gets resolved i'll have a word with my colleagues, ta.

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Dec 20 2006 15:30
Quote:
Any ideas what the best course of action is?

Joining SolFed. =P

Vaneigemappreci...
Offline
Joined: 23-01-04
Dec 20 2006 15:59
Quote:
Quote:
Any ideas what the best course of action is?

wetheyouth wrote:

Joining SolFed. =P

grin

funny you should say that, i think i'll finally get round to it in the new year.

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Dec 20 2006 16:00
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
Any ideas what the best course of action is?

wetheyouth wrote:

Joining SolFed. =P

grin

funny you should say that, i think i'll finally get round to it in the new year.

Im in lichfield want me to bring round an application form bro?

bastarx
Offline
Joined: 9-03-06
Dec 21 2006 11:10

Watch the movie, Office Space, and see how the disgruntled office-slaves deal with the fax machine.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 21 2006 11:38

I used to get headaches and nausea from the photocopier at my old place, it took me a while to realise what was causing it. We got the employers to get a fan to blow from it out a window...