The Pulp & Paper industry comprises companies that use wood as raw material and produce pulp, paper, paperboard and other cellulose-based products. Today, there are over 565 pulp & paper manufacturing facilities in the U.S., making this industry one of the world’s largest and oldest. With the advent of digitization, one can be excused for assuming that this industry is on the decline. On the contrary, this industry continues to grow despite the declining demand for graphic paper. Products like packaging, tissue and hygiene products are fueling the growth of this industry.
Through the power of water, pulp and control technology, paper mills can make products for a variety of different functions. While this may sound simple, the papermaking process is very complex, requiring several moving parts. In order to create a safe and effective work environment, employees of this industry must be able to identify the occupational hazards that are present, which include:
- Combustible Dust – Fiber dust, which is produced during the papermaking process, piles up on the ground and machinery. When airborne, this creates an explosion hazard and can also cause respiratory problems if inhaled by workers.
- Hazardous Chemicals – The papermaking process incorporates a wide range of hazardous chemicals. To avoid injury, it’s important that all substances are properly labeled, and the appropriate PPE is worn to avoid injuries upon exposure. Shower and eyewash locations should be properly marked and located in each employee workstation.
- Heat Stress – Hot surfaces and high temperatures are common hazards inside papermills due to the amount of friction and steam produced during the papermaking process. Without the proper ventilation, employees can quickly succumb to the effects of heat stroke if the proper precautions aren’t taken. By encouraging work/rest cycles, along with providing a cool down station, employees can react quickly once they recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion coming on.
- Pinch Points – Areas where a person or their body parts can become caught or crushed by a machine are referred to as pinch points. Injuries can happen when a person becomes caught between two moving machinery parts or between a stationary object and a moving part.
- Sharp Surfaces – When working on or around machinery, employees must be aware of sharp edges and surfaces. Blades and moving fabric on machines can cause scratches, cuts and even amputations. With most cutting occurring on the hands, it’s critical for employees to have proper hand protection.
- Slips, Trips & Falls – Water mixed with paper scraps left on the ground can lead to slippery walking surfaces. Other factors such as broken railings and the misuse of equipment can contribute to the rate of employee falls in a facility. By utilizing the proper fall protection equipment, slip-resistant footwear and PPE, the impact of the fall is greatly reduced, if not prevented altogether.
As experts in face & eye protection, Paulson offers a variety of industrial face shields designed to protect the workers of the pulp & paper industry. These include our transparent nylon face shields for extreme heat applications, as well as our chemical splash face shields for dealing with the hazardous chemicals present in paper mills.
Many pulp & paper workers must handle smelt in their daily operations. A bi-product of the papermaking process, smelt is a molten, paste-like substance that commonly reaches temperatures of about 500° Fahrenheit. Not only do these workers need adequate protection from the extreme heat, but also from potential splash hazards from the smelt. Our IM23-N6F high heat nylon face shield is designed to stand up to these types of extreme heat applications. Not only does the nylon material stand up to extreme heat better than any other plastic material, but the chin protector adds added protection against molten smelt splash.
Chemicals also present a constant hazard for papermill workers. On average, the papermaking process involves about 200 different chemicals, each presenting various hazard risks. Our IM22-T6F-V2 face shield for chemical hoods is extremely resistant to acids, bases and hydrocarbons, all of which are prevalent in the pulp & paper industry.
With over 72 years of experience in protecting industrial workers, Paulson Mfg. has been on the cutting edge of industrial face & eye protection for the most severe applications. Our high heat nylon face shields and chemical splash face shields can be found in paper mills across the U.S. As mentioned above, chemicals and extreme heat are common hazards that these workers face every day. The innovation we put into these highly specialized face shields is a direct result of the feedback we receive directly from the workers themselves. When it comes to the severe environments found in the pulp & paper industry, you cannot settle for less-than-adequate PPE.
For more info on how Paulson Mfg. is enhancing the safety of the pulp & paper industry, please contact us today!