Can A Pressman Can Sue For Personal Injury?

Can a pressman sue for injury on an offset printing press? The answer is yes, and it is done all the time. The pressman simply has to prove that it was negligence on the part of the company to provide and enforce adequate safety measures. Or, he must prove that the offset printing press manufacturer did not meet adequate safety standards upon delivery of the press. Either way, lawyers duke it out in the courts to reach a settlement. Here are a few examples from different parts of the globe.

1. Repetitive Strain Washing Blankets

England.  The law firm Brachers successfully sued a newspaper printer on behalf of a pressman who sustained shoulder injuries from repetitive cleaning of blankets, later requiring surgery.  This led to other successful settlements for other fellow pressmen.  The pressmen claimed that the company failed to:
  • Assess risk associated with the repetitive cleaning and use proper equipment.
  • Apply ergonomic principles and rotate tasks.
  • Use automation where possible.  
The pressmen received various amounts of compensation depending on the extent of the injury.  Largest settlement:  £117,500.

2.  Hand injuries

USA.  The Veen Firm in California successfully represented a pressman who was working on a two-color press who was caught at a nip point on the press that was not guarded.  The result was an amputation of the hand and forearm.  The employer contested that it had warned pressmen about the risk and was undergoing a retrofit program for the press in question.  The case was settled out of court.   Settlement:  1.8 million.

USA.  Cannon and Dumphy in Wisconsin successfully helped a woman to sue a press manufacturer for failing to properly guard the press.  While operating the press, her hair got tangled in it.  While trying to remove the hair, her hands were severely injured.  Settlement:  3.5 million.

But what has most printing industry employers scared now is the fact that those in management of a press can be criminally charged for negligence to properly protect their pressmen.  Noteworthy is a case in Australia in 2008. A pressman had three fingers crushed in the press at an unprotected nip point.  It was claimed that in order to meet production pressures, the pressmen worked without the proper guarding.  Criminal charges were laid and the company fined $280,000.

Never remove a guard from the press.
All these cases show that the employer or the press manufacturer can be held liable for failing to properly protect a pressman.  This includes diseases and other hazards caused in the press room.  However it is worth mentioning too, that they cannot be held liable for stupidity.  There is no excuse for bypassing guards and taking unsafe shortcuts after being trained and warned not to do so.

Press manufacturers and employees alike have taken these cases very seriously and undertaken expensive measures to protect their equipment.  And that's good for us, right?


  1. Anonymous3:03 PM

    I was a pressman on Duplex and Goss presses in a period from 1953 to 1969. I have sustained gradual hearing loss over the last 10 years. Can I still get a settlement for the damage to my hearing? This was a period when the pressmen at the Los Angels Times sued and won a settlement for hearing loss.


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