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Safe systems of work for cleaning printing presses

The guidance in the following tables describes commonly accepted and practicable safe systems of work for the significant hazards on printing presses supplied before the publication of European Standard BSEN 1010 ‘Safety of machinery – Safety requirements for the design and construction of printing and paper converting machines’. Printing presses manufactured or refurbished since 2005 should comply with that standard. For more information and to check for the most recent version of the standard please consult the British Standards Institution website.

Safe systems of work for cleaning Sheet-fed Offset Lithographic Printing Presses
Task Risk factors System of work
Cleaning inking rollers, multi or single-operator cleaning Absence of nip bars. It should not be possible to access rollers when in motion.
  • Use of demountable wash-up tray
Cleaning plate and blanket cylinders, single-operator cleaning Absence of gap covers allowing access behind trip nip/nip bars
  • Auto wash-up
  • Inch-stop-clean, forward motion
  • Forward slow crawl cleaning if trip nip meets performance standard
Cleaning plate and blanket cylinders, multi-operator cleaning

Absence of gap covers allowing access behind trip nip/nip bars

Unexpected start-up

  • Inch stop-lock-clean
  • On presses with zoned controls (allow independent movement of the print unit cylinders) inch-stop-clean, forward motion.
  • Forward slow crawl cleaning if trip nip meets performance standard.
Cleaning impression and transfer cylinders, multi- or single-operator cleaning Relative inaccessibility; absence of nip bars and hazard from grippers
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean
  • On presses with zoned true-inch controls beneath the foot board only, inch-stop-clean
Safe systems of work for cleaning Web-fed Offset Lithographic Printing Presses
Task Risk factors System of work
Cleaning inking rollers, multi- or single-operator Absence of nip bars. It should not be possible to access rollers when in motion.
  • Auto tray wash-up
Cleaning plate, blanket (and impression) cylinders, multi or single-operator 'Smooth' cylinders only - gutter not exceeding 4 mm radially by 8 mm circumferentially (exceptionally, 4 mm x 19 mm on newspaper presses)
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean, forward motion
  • Forward slow crawl cleaning only if nip bars and an emergency stop are provided
Cleaning transfer/path rollers, multi or single-person Relatively inaccessible; nip bars absent.
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean where rollers are powered, or by hand turning where free running
Safe systems of work for cleaning Gravure Printing Presses
Task Risk factors System of work
Wiping doctor blades Approach close to in-running nips at production speed
  • Use purpose-made tool
  • Interlocked guard with slot opening or adjustable nip bar within 6mm of cylinder
Cleaning gravure / impression cylinders mid-run, single-operator cleaning Access to in-running nips when interlocked guard raised
  • Inch-stop-clean
  • Forward slow crawl cleaning only if nip bars and emergency stop provided
Cleaning gravure / impression cylinders mid-run, multi-operator cleaning Access to in-running nips when interlocked guard raised
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean
  • Forward slow crawl cleaning only if nip bars and emergency stop provided
Cleaning gravure / impression cylinders at end of run Gravure cylinder removed from press
  • Off-machine manual or auto-washing
Safe systems of work for cleaning Flexographic Printing Presses
Task Risk factors System of work
Cleaning duct/anilox rollers, single-operator Absence of nip bars
  • Inch-stop-clean
Cleaning duct/anilox rollers, multi-operator Absence of nip bars
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean
  • Inch-stop-clean on presses with zoned controls (allow independent movement of print unit cylinders)
Cleaning stereo mid-run, single-operator Accessibility to in-running nip when interlocked guard raised
  • Inch-stop-clean
Cleaning stereo mid-run, multi-operator Accessibility to in-running nip when interlocked guard raised
  • Inch-stop-lock-clean
  • Inch-stop-clean on presses with zoned controls (allow independent movement of print unit cylinders)
Cleaning stereo at end of run Stereo removed from press
  • Off-machine manual or auto-washing
Upper section of a common impression cylinder on a large press  
  • developing and implementing a safe means of access and methods of work
Updated: 2014-12-30