Safety is a Machinists Best Friend
Safety needs to remain a top priority when working with machine tools of any kind – even something as simple as a genie material lift. Machine tools are generally very heavy and are also potentially dangerous when proper precautions are not taken. The misuse of machines and lack of proper maintenance often ends in a malfunctioning machine – a danger to nearby workers. Additionally, the cost of rebuilding tools can be high.
This is why it’s of paramount importance that machine tools undergo regular inspections and that detailed records and logs are kept. In the end, you’ll have a machine that lasts longer and requires less emergency service, while providing a safer working environment for employees.
Here are some very basic, universal safety tips for anyone operating machine tools:
Is everyone at your plant properly trained for their machine? Naturally, employees provide records and references when seeking employment from precision machine shops, but sometimes details go unnoticed — especially if you’ve been caught empty-handed in a pinch. It’s never to late to correct any outstanding issues in that department by providing in-shop or on-site training, and you’ll be happy you did. The expense will pay for itself in the security of knowing you’re running a tight ship. Safety brochures are another way of keeping workers updated on safety trends and concerns, but nothing tops hands-on explanations.
Machine tools jobs are one area of work where there’s no “casual Friday” and the dress code can never be called old fashioned, because it’s about personal safety. Long hair needs to be put up or tied back, no hanging jewelry should be worn, nor should there be any hanging/loose sleeves. Closed-toe shoes are mandatory, boots are preferable (steel-toe for heavy machining). Ear protection and eye protection should be worn, specific to the employees machine.
Ideally, machine tools should be inspected every week, adding lubrication when necessary. Lathe-turning, drill bits and end mills may need sharpening, and all machinery and parts should be cleaned daily. Logs should be updated each week so problems can be tracked.
This is a very general list, and should be observed in addition to any specific guidelines particular to specific machines. Whether you work with a genie material lift or high precision machining, the more you know about your machine, the safer you are.