Noisy Printers to Quiet Ones - A Benefit for Noise Health and Safety
Whilst all printers will make a noise to some extent, the crown for the noisiest type of printer must go to the dot matrix printer. The image of this printer feeding through connected sheets of paper with perforated pre-holed sides will be remembered by many, especially those working in companies a decade or two ago as these printers were particularly used for printing invoices and delivery notes for example, and back when it was only really governments, businesses and educational facilities who could afford to purchase a printer before the price came down far enough to make them affordable for individual consumers to own.
The other feature which many will remember, probably not too fondly, is that of the noise which the dot matrix printer made. It takes its name from how it operates; by striking pins into an inked ribbon, similar to how a typewriter operates. These dots are close together and collectively make up the shape of each individual letter, number or character. The striking of the pins caused the noise, which was surprisingly loud.
Although not as loud and as dangerous as other occupational noise issues which can be found in a place of work, the noise created by the dot matrix printers still posed slight a risk to the hearing of those nearby, particularly those unfortunate people who had to work at a desk right next to where it was situated. The long-term effects of being exposed to such noise every working day could cause permanent damage to hearing in certain cases. To combat such noise, covers could be placed over the printer, or more preferably, locating the printer in a separate room away from where people are working, although this was not always possible.
Have Dot Matrix Printers Disappeared Completely?
Advances in printer technology which produce much clearer text and images with very little sound has meant that the dot matrix printer has disappeared from many businesses and institutions. However it does continue to be used for certain applications such as invoice printing which simply require text to be printed that does not have to be razor sharp in clarity and does not require any images to be printed as the paper is manufactured already with the logos on it.
Whilst noise is still an issue with them, they do not have some of the other health and safety concerns which other types of printers have, for example the possibility of respiratory problems or other health risks associated with printer toner.