What are the Dangers of 3D Printing?
April 14, 2021
Every day, countries around the world make major technological advances. One of the world’s more recent advances is 3D printing, which is often referred to as additive manufacturing (AM). In basic terms, the 3D printing process involves creating solid physical objects from digital (or computer-generated) files. Although 3D printing originated in the 1980s, it wasn’t until 10 or 15 years ago that people really began to pay attention to it. 3D printing appears to have nearly limitless options, like printing tools, toys, clothing, food, and even body parts. But with its seemingly endless possibilities also come a variety of serious hazards. As 3D printing becomes more accessible to the public and also more popular in workplaces around the world, it is important to know what the potential dangers are as well as some useful ways to avoid them.
3D Printing Hazards
There are different kinds of 3D printers, like models that use lasers, others that employ UV (ultraviolet) rays to produce materials, and those that use high temperatures. 3D printers also use an assortment of materials, including rubbers, plastics, and metals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common hazards associated with 3D printing are:
- Skin contact with harmful or hazardous materials, such as powders, solvents, and other chemicals. Contact with these chemicals can cause vision and/or skin damage. It is also important to note that 3D printers that use UV light create radiation hazards for operators
- Breathing in harmful chemicals or chemicals that are released during the additive manufacturing process. For example, 3D printers often use reactive metal powders like titanium and aluminum, which not only create fire and explosion hazards but can also cause acute or long-term lung problems and other health complications when inhaled
- Static, fire, and explosion hazards. Some of the materials that 3D printers use are highly combustible or flammable, like thermoplastics. Some 3D printers also reach high temperatures when they are melting materials and may unintentionally ignite or cause burns
Tips to Prevent Workplace 3D Printing Injuries
In order to reduce the many health and safety risks that individuals face, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, will continue to investigate the potential hazards associated with 3D printing. Luckily, the institute has already identified several useful safety tips for preventing 3D printing-related injuries and mishaps. Here are the recommendations:
- Use enclosures for 3D printers. It is also important to have effective ventilation systems that aid in capturing chemical emissions and reduce inhalation risks
- Limit equipment access to trained or authorized workers
- Use materials that have lower emission outputs
- Reduce the amount of time that workers spend around printers while they are actively printing
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, or PPE. In most cases, employers must provide employees with industry-standard PPE, such as gloves, safety glasses, and lab coats
- Train workers in a language they can easily understand on what the potential hazards of 3D printing are. Additionally, employers must train workers on how to identify and report hazards as well as how to protect themselves from them
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim: What Results have Galfand Berger Attorneys Achieved for Injured Victims?
Even when there are safety precautions in place, catastrophic accidents still happen. In cases where an employer fails to maintain a safe and healthful work environment, the chances of an accident happening increase exponentially. Workers who are injured because of their employer’s negligence are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. In other words, workers’ compensation places the burden of a substantial portion of an injured worker’s economic loss on the employer.
In the past 10 years, the attorneys at Galfand Berger have achieved over a quarter of a billion dollars in recoveries for our clients. We have a team of attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation claims and who fight to secure justice for injured victims. In one tragic case, our client was fatally injured as a result of his employer’s failure to maintain appropriate safeguards on the job. Our attorney was able to obtain a $5 million recovery in favor of the client’s grieving family.
If you would like to learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim for a 3D printing-related injury you sustained in the workplace, please contact a representative online now who can help.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.