With the introduction of more affordable and lower-cost 3D printers, more workplaces and educational establishments are investing in their own 3D printers. However, many businesses and their people are unaware that risk assessment for 3D printers should be completed beforehand. Find out more about Fume Extraction solutions on our dedicated page.
What Are The Risks Associated with 3D Printers?
3D printing is a relatively modern technology, which has revolutionised a wide range of industries and the way processes, such as design, rapid prototyping and product development is undertaken. Some industries that have embraced and adopted 3D printers include healthcare, engineering, aerospace, architecture, education (including schools, colleges and universities) and many more.
Depending on the type of filament used by the 3D printer, they have the potential of emitting hazardous fumes into the workplace and learning environment. This means they have the potential to reduce the indoor air quality, whilst also introducing health risks into the working environment.
Risk assessments should be completed on all kinds of 3D printers, including desktop 3D printers, to understand the hazards they produce.
Findings published in the HSE’s RR1146 – Measuring and Controlling Emissions from Polymer Filament Desktop 3D Printers state that ultrafine particles (<100 nm diameter) are likely to be emitted from the 3D printer as the filament is extruded through the nozzle. Evidence shows that these particles are inhalable and can initiate an inflammatory response in the airway and lungs. Additional studies have also concluded that people who have inhaled air that contains high levels of ultrafine particles are more likely to suffer from lung and cardiovascular disease. Also, some filament materials released hazardous chemicals such as styrene and isocyanates.
It’s also imperative to remember that depending on the severity and the duration of long-term exposure are not yet fully understood.
How Do the HSE Recommend Controlling Fumes from 3D Printers?
In the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) RR1146 guidance, they recommend using Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems, particularly in the form of an enclosed Fume Cabinets to control emissions from 3D printers. By providing an extraction and ventilation system, you’ll be able to ensure that employees and students are protected from inhaling harmful contaminants, whilst also being reassured that your business adheres to the legal obligations under the HSE’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 Regulations.
Essential Elements of COSHH
The legal requirements require employers to complete regular COSHH risk assessments. Regulation 7 requires employers to make all conscious efforts to follow the COSHH hierarchical approach (listed above).
COSHH regulations place the duty of care on employers to ensure employees (and other people in the workplace) who may be exposed to specific substances are protected. To find out more about the necessary steps to take to ensure your workplace complies with the COSHH Regulations, read our article, The 7 Essential Elements of COSHH [Infographic].
Request a FREE LEV Site Assessment
We’ll call to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your site. We’ll analyse your working processes, assess the substances used and the contaminants generated. We’ll work out how best to control the dust and fume in a way that’s in line with your COSHH risk assessment. Next, we’ll design you a comprehensive LEV system that adheres to HSG258 guidance and send this you to via email.
We’ll do all this to ensure we fully understand your dust and fume extraction requirements and help you to provide a pollution-free workplace!
This is an amazing service we do for thousands of businesses throughout the UK and Ireland every year. We work with such a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing, industrial, woodworking, pharmaceutical and automotive workshops to schools, colleges and military establishments.
Request your FREE, no-obligation LEV site assessment today!
Reduce the Risk with Efficient Fume Extraction
Providing a comprehensive extraction system is the most efficient method of reducing the risks that arise from 3D printing. In a study conducted by the HSE, they identified that a 3D printer with an enclosed hood LEV system reduced particle emission rates by 97% when exhausting the air from inside the hood and by 99% when the air was recirculated inside the hood.
It was also identified that the particle emission rates increased and the average particle size decreased as the 3D printer nozzle temperature increased. This ultimately makes the fume generated even more dangerous as it’s more likely to not be seen but also respired.
The LEV system should be used to effectively and safely remove fumes and particles that are produced in the 3D printing operation.
Why Choose Auto Extract Systems?
Auto Extract Systems is the UK’s leading LEV company. Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of businesses create pollution-free workplaces, and avoid a costly fee for intervention fines.
We are experts in all things LEV, we can help your business become COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulation 2002 compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installation, maintenance and certification services across a range of industry sectors. Find out more about us here.