Safety should always be a priority when working with machine tools as they can be heavy and dangerous if proper safety measures are not followed. Misusing and not properly maintaining machines can result in malfunction of the machine, which can be dangerous to any workers in the area.
Maintaining proper inspections, logs and records, and following proper safety procedures can result in longer-lasting, low-maintenance machinery as well as a safe working environment for workers. In this article, we will take a look at some general safety tips for machine tool operators.
Use qualified workers/provide safety training
Ensure that all machine tool operators have been properly trained for the specific machine they are using. This can be accomplished by in-shop training and/or checking references and records. Workers should also receive safety information in the form of brochures and/or in-shop training.
Safe personal attire
Workers with long hair should put their hair up or tie it back in a ponytail to keep it out of the way. Jewelry and loose or low-hanging clothing should not be worn. Shoes should have closed toes (no flip flops, etc.), and boots are recommended use in most machine shops.Steel toes should be used when working around heavy machinery and tools. If the machinery is uncomfortably loud, ear protection should be worn during all times the machines are running. Safety glasses or other eye protection should also be used.
Weekly inspections should be performed on machinery, and lubrication should be added if necessary. Cutting tools such as lathe-turning, end mills, drill bits and others should be inspected, and sharpened if necessary. All machinery should be cleaned after each use- this helps keep the machine aligned and functioning properly.
A log of all inspections, lubrication, sharpened tools, cleaning etc. should be kept and updated weekly. If any inspection shows problematic areas, or areas that may become problematic in the short future, these machines should be serviced as soon as possible, and should not be used until they have been properly maintained.
As each individual machine provides a different function, these tips are general safety tips for machine tool operators, and should not be used as a comprehensive list of all safety procedures. These tips should be used in conjunction with any specific safety measures that are provided for each individual piece of machinery.