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3D printing and worker safety


3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology that has experienced widespread growth across numerous industries in recent years. It’s used in a wide variety of settings, including laboratories, factories, hospitals and schools.

Still, despite its popularity, “3D printing is still a relatively new technology and there are many gaps in the information available about health and safety risks,” NIOSH cautions.

Potential hazards, the agency says, include breathing in toxic particles; skin contact with harmful substances; and static, fire and explosions.

NIOSH offers many ways employers and workers can stay safe when using a 3D printer. Among them:

  • Limit equipment access to trained or authorized personnel.
  • Use enclosures and ventilation to capture chemical emissions.
  • Use materials with lower emissions.
  • Reduce time spent near the printer while it’s running.
  • Educate workers on potential hazards and how to protect themselves.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, gloves or lab coats.

For more resources on safely using 3D printers, go to

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