The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cleapss tested the Kora Universal Safety Cabinet SC-01 on a range of 3D Printers. The results emphatically demonstrated that enclosing your desktop 3D Printer within SC-01 will keep your school / business compliant to the 2019 legislation.
To minimise exposure to hazardous substances, COSHH sets out important principles that need to be addressed in the risk assessment. In summary when applying these principles the following is recommended
Minimise the use of hazardous processes and materials:
- If you are unsure about which types of printers are safer by design, and which types of filament materials are least hazardous, seek advice from CLEAPSS or from suppliers that conform to EU and GB Health and Safety and Equipment Safety Legislation.
- Choose PLA as your main type of filament material and avoid using more hazardous filaments such as ABS.
- Reduce the printer nozzle temperature to the lower melt range specified by the filament supplier. This information should be in the product information sheet but if in doubt contact your supplier.
- Consider how many printers you are running in a room and whether the room has adequate ventilation. If possible do not place many printers in one room particularly if the room is small and/or poorly ventilated
Containment for 3D Printers:
- The best solution is to purchase a 3D printer that is fully enclosed including filters to remove particulate and chemical emissions. Alternatively use a bespoke exposure control cabinet to cover each printer.
- A well-designed exposure control cabinet should include a fan to draw the air through a suitable filter for ultrafine particulates e.g. HEPA filter, and a carbon filter for capturing volatile organic chemicals (termed VOC).
- All types of enclosed printers, or exposure control cabinets, will take time to clear emissions once the printing has finished, so allow an appropriate clearance time before opening the enclosure after printing. Follow the enclosure manufacturer’s guidance.
- An exposure control cabinet will prevent access to the working area, and therefore prevent contact with hot and moving components.
- Properly installed and maintained equipment will prevent access to electrical components and therefore reduce the risk of electric shock injuries or burns.
- An exposure control cabinet fixed securely in place will prevent movement and unauthorised removal of the equipment.
- To minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injury caused by lifting and moving printers, suitable lifting equipment and trolleys should be used
Cleaning and Maintenance:
Injuries from the equipment and exposure to contaminants on the printer surfaces can occur, as well as from chemical products used to clean printers. Chemicals or materials used for cleaning may interact with other materials increasing the risk of chemical emissions.
- Prior to use, the operator should carry out a visual check of all electrical connections
- The machine must be switched off and isolated from the mains before cleaning or carrying out maintenance.
- The person cleaning or maintaining the machine should be competent. When accessing the interior build space of the machine ensure that all components have had time to cool.
- Take care to ensure that belts, pulleys, bearings and other mechanical components are identified and the operator avoids touching them, unless carrying out maintenance on those parts.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for suitable cleaning processes and chemicals, and with regard to user serviceable components. Avoid using harsh or hazardous chemicals and strong organic solvents for cleaning work. Alcohol based wet wipes containing suitable detergent and disinfectants are suitable for this purpose but avoid cloths soaked in water in order to protect the electronics.
- Use disposable paper towel to dry and clean the equipment, not rags.
- Filaments should be replaced by a competent individual ensuring care with respect to moving and heated parts.
- Guards and enclosures must be replaced when cleaning and maintenance work is
- Where an exposure control cabinet is used, the filters should be checked and changed regularly as this qualifies as an LEV system. A “Thorough Examination and Test is required and must be carried out by a competent person”. Further advice can be found at G225 – Local Exhaust Ventilation in D&T available on the CLEAPSS website
Use a dedicated location for the printers and fix them in place. If the 3Dprinter needs to be moved, use best practice for manual handling as described on the HSE website
Before switching on the 3D printer, visually check that all electrical connections are in a good condition. Ensure that the machine is correctly installed, and run the power cable via a conduit from a fused, labelled isolating switch. Advice on safe working with electrical equipment can be found on the HSE website