Hazards from paper and printing industries include accidents, environmental pollution, noise, dust and chemical hazards.
Accidents are responsible for the greatest amount of lost time. In addition to the usual tripping, falling, striking and being-struck accidents, must be added those from moving and revolving machinery. In the pulp industry, bark removing machinery, log cutting and shredding of pulp present serious hazards. Serious accidents can also be caused by the falling of badly stacked paper rolls.
Environmental problems are aggravated by the hot humid atmosphere of the drying rooms; and the high temperatures in the boiling, washing, and sulphate recovery areas expose operators to high levels of relative humidity and considerable temperature variations. Bronchitis and other respiratory ailments may result. Noise hazards result from the high noise levels at every stage of pulp and paper production (80dB to over 100dB); dust accumulations lead to increased fire and explosion possibilities; and the most serious chemical hazard results from the handling of lime and the lime kiln.
Depending on the age and type of plant and its technical pollution control, effluents from paper mills can contain high levels of organic fibres, natural plant resins and tannins, and synthetic chemicals and dyes. Improper disposal has caused major ecological damage to receiving waters.