Safety First: Life-saving Tips for Machine Tool Operators
You can’t overestimate the importance of safety in the workplace. Especially with recent tragic stories of workplace accidents like the one in a steel processing plant in California or at a silicone plant in Illinois, the need for safety in the workplace is more important than ever.
In this post we will focus particularly on safety practices for machine tool operators. If you work in a facility with machine tools, you know that these tools are large and powerful and proper precautions must be taken.
So, what can you do to prevent accidents and ensure employees prioritize safety?
Here are a few things teams at your facility should implement if they haven’t already:
- All machine operators should be thoroughly trained before operating machinery. Never skimp on training–it may cost more time and effort up front, but it is always worth it.
- Do not remove machine guards or operate the machine with doors open for any reason. This will ensure machine operators are not hit by debris and do not come into contact with machine parts. If you do need to access the machine while it is running, VibrAlign offers the MEAX line of products which can be used to perform geometric checks on the machine even with the doors closed.
- Always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This includes helmets, goggles, proper footwear, and other equipment and clothing.
- Always have at least one person observing the machine. It’s tempting to simply let a programmed machine do its work, but often when no one is watching is the time when the machine will experience an issue that needs to be addressed.
- Don’t use blunt, cracked, chipped, or broken tools.
In addition to these safety precautions, it’s important to always do these things before operating your CNC Machine:
- Ensure the machine isn’t operating when you load a tool magazine.
- Double check to make sure all tools are set correctly.
- Test tools before you use them.
- Ensure surfaces are clean and free of debris.
- Set the spindle direction correctly for right and left-handed operators.
- Pay attention to manufacturer’s tolerances for tools.
Besides these tips and practices, if you are the manager of a machine shop, you should always prioritize the health and safety of your employees. A good manager will care enough about employees to be able to tell if they are struggling physically or mentally and whether this could be a detriment to their safety and workplace safety in general.
Photo courtesy: iStockphotos.com/Sviatlana Barchan