Computer numerical control (CNC) machines are designed to be very safe equipment, but that doesn’t mean good safety habits should go out the window. If you are a CNC machine operator, consider the following safety tips.
1) Keep Doors Closed
Operators who get cavalier about opening up the machine while it is still running are at risk of a major accident. All parts of the machine should be kept closed until it has completely stopped running. Each machine has a home position and operators should ensure the machine has returned to that position before trying to access the machine’s interior.
2) Don’t Modify Tools
Any modification to a CNC tool can cause a high amount of energy to be released in a dangerous direction.
3) Maintain the Machine
Keeping your CNC machine maintained and clean. Not only extends the life of the machine, but it also keeps you safe. If a machine isn’t properly cleaned, a build-up of chips and residue can cause tools to get dangerously hot.
4) Use Proper PPE
OSHA standards layout all of the necessary personal protection equipment CNC operators must wear, including face, foot, body, ear and hand protection. Operators should also enforce PPE guidelines whenever someone approaches the machine they are running.
5) Respect the Machine
This should go without saying, but under no circumstances should an operator put any body part inside the machine while operating or powering up. Even a machine that has been powered off should be approached with caution.
6) Get Regular Training
Those who are new to CNC machining should receive full safety training before being allowed to operate the machine. Even experienced operators should receive regular training, as machines and best practices are constantly being updated.
7) Practice Fire Safety
CNC machine operators should always follow all fire safety protocols add to make sure that the appropriate firefighting measures have been provided. Those working with magnesium and other flammable metals should be particularly cautious when it comes to fire safety. These metals remain hazardous even after a machining operation has finished.
8) Never Leave a Running Machine Unattended
We tend to think machines allow us to multitask, man it is tempting to walk away from a program CNC machine. However, CNC machines do breakdown and function improperly from time to time, and when this happens, it can create a dangerous situation.
Therefore, someone should always be observing a CNC machine when it is in operation.
9) Follow Lock Out Tag Out Procedures
Even when it is powered off, a CNC machine can have a high amount of dangerous stored energy. Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) procedures are designed to prevent stored energy from being released on unsuspecting individuals.
10) Check Yourself (Before You Wreck Yourself)
Given the situation with COVID-19, we’re all being hyper-aware of our physical condition, and this is a good thing when it comes to CNC machine safety. Never operate a machine when you are tired or not feeling well.
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