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Why do you have a machine that can copy? You are likely copying documents that require replication, scanning digital documents that are important for storage, and creating hard copies of files that you can risk losing if a harddrive happens to malfunction. You are likely using your machine to handle some of the most important documentation to your business… there is a lot of risk involved in that.
We are talking safety in two terms in this particular blog post, because you are also using a machine. That is right, a big machine with moving parts and ink and a number of things that need to be properly managed for safe use, consistently. We are not suggesting that these machines are an ever-present hazard. But in the event that the unfortunate occurs, we want you to be prepared and ready to leap into action.
First lets cover the safety of your information.
Personal data is important, we get that. Every time a device scans something as part of the copying procedure, it holds a copy in memory until it is wiped. If the photocoper is used to make copies of confidential information (think Social Insurance Numbers, employee data, company financials) the memory on your machine requires clearning on a regular basis. How do you facilitate this? We have a blog post series approaching and we will update this article with links!
Now lets cover the physical safety.
Skin and Eye Irritation
MFP’s, photocopiers, fax machines, printers… they all have a print ink/toner that has the potential to irritate the skin mildly. Note that all of the above will wash off with soap and water, so you should hit the sink if you happen to have skin contact with the ink source. Note that these ink sources can also be hazardous if inhaled. If you are using your ink source according to the manual, no spill should occur. That being said, we know that the rush of needing that print job to finish while there is no toner in the machine occurs and the mad dash to the supply cupboard results in a less than “standard operation” installation of the cartridge. Spills happen. Clean it up quickly, use a vaccuum and throw out the bag when you are finished. A quick clean up will prevent any further issue!
The laser used by a photocoper to scan the document emits UV radiation that is bright enough to damage your eyes. So, scan with the lid closed. This is adviseable for another more business oriented reason: it saves your toner. If you are scanning with the lid open, you are inevitably exposing more negative space than necessary and your print will show that. That is one of the most common toner wasting scenarios. So save those baby blues and some dollars while you’re at it!
We did a brief talk about toner, but that isn’t the exclusive source of airborne chemicals when it comes to your office machine. Ozone has a pleasant smell, often described as sweet and reminiscent of cloves. That doesn’t mean you should soak up as much of that as possible. In fact, if your office machine is located in a small copy room, you run the risk of being subject to some side effects including premature aging. Toners and plastic parts int he copier can emit airborne hazards as well. The side effects of prolonged exposure include reproductive issues and possible cancer (this is unconfirmed, but hey, its your right to know what you’re working with).
There are definitely benefits to being intimately familiar with your machine’s mechanical parts, all of which will be outlined in great detail in your owner’s manual. Why? Well, there are some pieces inside that work-horse that get extremely hot and that move rapidly. We recommend letting your machine cool down for about thirty minutes before you attempt to reach into the areas that include the feed mechanism and print drum especially. Further, make sure your machine isn’t operating when you do attempt to dislodge a paper jam. And reference our blog post on paper jams here to see if there is a simple solution to the issue you’re having