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Safeguarding printing presses

Printing presses manufactured or refurbished since 2005 should comply with BSEN 1010 ‘Safety of machinery – Safety requirements for the design and construction of printing and paper converting machines’. For more information and to check for the most recent version of the standard, please consult the British Standards Institution website.

The guidance in the following tables describe commonly accepted and practicable safeguards for the significant hazards on printing presses supplied before the publication of BSEN 1010.

Note: In these tables ‘limited powered movement’ means machine start-up is controlled by hold-to-run devices.  The different cylinder displacements and speeds associated with each type of hold-to-run control are described in Control definitions for limited press movement.

Sheet-fed offset lithographic printing press safeguards
Hazard Safeguard
Feed table in-running nips: Chain and sprockets, rotating shafts, sheet grippers Fixed and/or interlocking guards or electro-sensitive protective devices

In-running nips between inking and damping roller assemblies

Interlocking guards with either

  • no powered movement or
  • limited powered movement by true inch when the guard is opened
In-running nips between the plate, blanket and impression cylinders

Interlocking guard with limited powered movement and either a

  • Trip nip bar adjusted to within 6mm of the cylinder surface which either i) meets trip nip performance standard or ii) is supplemented with gap covers for both plate & blanket cylinders or iii) has no continuous slow crawl facility, or
  • Fixed nip bar adjusted to within 6mm of the cylinder surface and gap covers for both plate and blanket cylinders or no facility for continuous slow crawl. (If the cylinder gutters are less than 4mm deep and 8mm wide gap covers are not required).
In-running nips between impression/ transfer cylinders Interlocking guard with limited powered movement by true or limited inch when the guard is open. Emergency stop (or stop-lock) control provided on each unit.

In-running nips between transfer cylinders, delivery mechanisms

Fixed and/or interlocked guards. Interlocking guards allowing limited movement by true or limited inch due to the severity of the hazard and usual lack of nip bars. The delivery mechanism guarding should permit the safe removal of test sheets.
Contact with moving cylinders and rollers during removal of hickeys (fluff) Only remove hickeys from moving cylinders and rollers with a hickey picker. Rags should never be used.
Whole-body access in delivery area Fixed and/or interlocking guards or electro-sensitive protective equipment to prevent persons accessing sheet gripper elements

Unexpected start up on

multi-operator press
Pre-start warning devices and zoned controls
Web-fed offset lithographic printing press safeguards
Hazard Safeguard
n-running nips between inking and damping rollers

When interlocking guards are opened then either

  • no powered movement can occur, or
  • limited powered movement by true inch only

or
Fixed nip bars adjusted to within 6mm of the roller surface. Alcohol-damping systems with a separate drive which continues when interlocking guard opened requires nip bars.

In-running nips between plate, blanket or impression cylinders

Interlocking guards with limited powered movement by true or limited inch or hold-to-run slow crawl only, where nip bars not fitted. All danger points within view of operator, or of several operators, provided each has own hold-to-run control. Nips out of view should be safeguarded and/or

  • fixed nip bars adjusted to within 6mm of the cylinder surface provided cylinder smooth or gutters are <4mm deep and <8mm wide; and/ or
  • fixed or interlocking 'letterbox' distance guards or dual fixed nip bar e.g. at blanket-blanket nip since web path/flutter prevents use of single fixed nip bar; and/or
  • sweep-on nip bars interlocking with reverse crawl or no facility for reverse crawl.

Where nip bars are provided and continuous slow crawl is available, supplement by an emergency stop (or 'stop-lock' control) at each print unit.

In-running nips at roller/cylinder within arch of arch type presses Interlocking unit gates, fixed or nip guards. With interlocked gates open, movement should be via local hold-to-run controls allowing crawl speeds of no more than 5 m/min.
Accessible in-running nips between draw rollers Fixed guard or fixed nip bars adjusted to within 6mm of the roller surface or split bar with a bell-shaped mouth to assist hand webbing-up.
Laceration at web severers e.g. within unit arches Fixed tunnel guards and/or interlocked access gates
In-running nips on rotating guide rollers Fixed nip bars adjusted to within 6mm of the guide roller surface or separate the rollers from other contra-rotating rollers and the machines frame by a gap of at least 120mm.
Trapping hazard from closing the drying unit oven door

Hold-to-run controls to close oven located so the closing movement can be seen along its entire length

In running nips between chill rollers Fixed guard or a gap of at least 120mm between accessible in-running nips
In-running nips and lacerations from propeller and slitter rollers Fixed guard covering at least 300o of the roller
In-running nips on folding units Fixed guard and/or fixed nip bars adjusted to within 6mm of the roller surface
In-running nips on pressure/rider rollers at reel unwind/rewind units Interlocked guard with limited movement when open or trip devices or self-adjusting nip bars 
Unexpected start-up of the drive motor on press units

Pre-start warning device. Interlocked clutches disengage the drive to press units on older presses but emergency stop controls remain effective.

All indicator lights clearly marked.

Gravure web-fed printing press safeguards
Hazard Safeguard
In-running nips between gravure and impression cylinders

Long-run presses
Adjustable nip bars within 6 mm of the gravure/impression and impression/back impression (boule) cylinders which cover the full range of gravure cylinder diameters. Often mounted off doctor blade carrier. Continuous slow crawl should be supplemented by an emergency stop (or 'stop lock') control at each print unit.

Short-run to medium-run presses
Interlocking guards at each print unit or along the length of the press, which allow limited inch and hold-to-run slow crawl only when open.

Long and short-run presses
Access to wipe the doctor blade during the print run should be prevented or reduced where reasonably practicable. On short-run presses provide a slot in interlocked guard or an adjustable nip guard. On long-run presses provide purpose designed tool.

Unexpected start-up on multi-operator press Pre-start audible warning device.
Flexographic printing press safeguards
Hazard Safeguard
In-running nips between inking rollers (rotary letterpress only), duct, anilox, stereo and impression cylinders

Small to medium machines (up to 1m web)
Interlocked guards allowing limited inch and hold-to-run slow crawl only when removed or opened

Larger format machines
Gate/barrier interlocked guards (usually mesh barriers situated at front of print unit) allowing limited inch and hold-to-run slow crawl when guard opened and compliant with BSEN294 safety distances

All machines require
a fixed nip bar (right-angled best) adjusted to within 6mm of the anilox/duct rollers where these have a separate auxiliary drive which is not stopped by opening of the interlocked guard
and
guards should prevent access to in-running nips associated with entire range of stereo cylinder diameters. 

In-running nip on stereo cylinders of variable diameters Adjustable nip bars are not suitable on short-run presses since they are frequently removed or incorrectly adjusted. Limit use of adjustable nip bars to presses carrying out long-run work with few or no cylinder changes.
In-running nip on non-powered riding or guide rollers driven by web movement Carry out risk assessment to determine safeguarding requirements. Consider factors such material type, wrapping angle and web speed.
Drive gears and intakes Fixed sheet guards or interlocked side-opening doors compliant with BSEN294 safety distances
In-running nips between chill and pressure rollers, other contra-rotating rollers

Provide fixed guards or nip bars at any gaps of less than 120mm between contra-rotating powered rollers

In-running nips on pressure/rider rollers at reel unwind/rewind units Interlocked guard with limited movement when open or trip devices or self-adjusting nip bars 
Unexpected start-up on multi-operator press Pre-start audible warning device and zoned controls
In-running nips between inking rollers (rotary letterpress only), duct, anilox, stereo and impression cylinders

Small to medium machines (up to 1m web)
Interlocked guards allowing limited inch and hold-to-run slow crawl only when removed or opened.

Larger format machines
Gate/barrier interlocked guards (usually mesh barriers situated at front of print unit) allowing limited inch and hold-to-run slow crawl when guard opened and compliant with BSEN294 safety distances

All machines require
a fixed nip bar (right-angled best) adjusted to within 6mm of the anilox/duct rollers where these have a separate auxiliary drive which is not stopped by opening of the interlocked guard
and

guards should prevent access to in-running nips associated with entire range of stereo cylinder diameters 
In-running nip on stereo cylinders of variable diameters Adjustable nip bars are not suitable on short-run presses since they are frequently removed or incorrectly adjusted. Limit use of adjustable nip bars to presses carrying out long-run work with few or no cylinder changes.
In-running nip on non-powered riding or guide rollers driven by web movement Carry out risk assessment to determine safeguarding requirements. Consider factors such material type, wrapping angle and web speed.
Drive gears and intakes Fixed sheet guards or interlocked side-opening doors compliant with BSEN294 safety distances
In-running nips between chill and pressure rollers, other contra-rotating rollers

Provide fixed guards or nip bars at any gaps of less than 120mm between contra-rotating powered rollers.

In-running nips on pressure/rider rollers at reel unwind/rewind units Interlocked guard with limited movement when open or trip devices or self-adjusting nip bars 
Unexpected start-up on multi-operator press Pre-start audible warning device and zoned controls
Updated: 2014-07-22