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Handling toner safely

Particularly when dealing with paper jams in photocopiers and laser printers it is important for someone who is familiar with the machines to be involved. Force is often used to tear out pieces of paper stuck between the rollers. This may lead to the release of toner dust which has not yet been fixed, and thus in some circumstances to risks to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. In addition, the machine and its surroundings are contaminated with toner.

Take the following points into account when carrying out the activities listed below, in accordance with the dictates of preventive occupational health and safety:

  • Where the purchase of toner is concerned, you are recommended to make sure that the toner used has undergone an AMES test and has no mutagenic characteristics (ask for the manufacturer's safety data sheet).
  • If you are re-filling the cartridge with toner powder or liquid toner it is worth using throwaway gloves or household rubber gloves (this is not necessary when changing cartridges).
  • Avoid spilling toner. If this nonetheless happens, follow the instructions on the safety data sheet. With dry toners wiping up the powder with a damp cloth is usually sufficient.
  • Use cold water and soap to clean skin on which toner has settled (many toner powders become sticky in contact with hot water). Do not use solvents.
  • If toner gets into your eyes, rinse them with water for at least 10 minutes. See a doctor if necessary.
  • If toner gets into your mouth, rinsing out with a lot of cold water helps. If you feel unwell, do not induce vomiting but see a doctor and show him/her the safety data sheet.
  • Remove clothes if they get splashed with liquid toner, then rinse any wet skin with water.
  • Keep toner storage containers in a lockable cupboard.
  • Take care to ensure that toner waste and residues are disposed of properly.