9 Metalworking Safety Tips You Need To Follow
Metalworking can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, whether it’s a hobby or a profession. However, it can also be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken. The risks associated with metalworking are numerous and include cuts, burns, electrical hazards, and respiratory problems, among others. Therefore, it is crucial to follow essential safety tips to protect yourself and those around you.
In this article, we will discuss nine metalworking safety tips that you need to follow to stay safe while working with metal. These tips cover various metalworking activities and should be taken seriously to avoid injuries and accidents.
Metalworking Safety Tips You Need To Follow
Working with metal poses a distinct set of hazards not present in carpentry or woodworking. Metal is generally more brutal and sharper than wood, making it more prone to causing injuries. To ensure safety while engaging in metalworking, it is imperative to adhere to these five safety measures:
1. Utilize Eye Protection
It is essential always to wear eye protection when working with metal. Work-related eye injuries are commonplace, with over 20,000 U.S. workers sustaining an eye injury annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Industries that involve metalworking, such as manufacturing, typically have higher rates of eye injuries than others. This is because machined metal can create shrapnel capable of penetrating a worker’s eye. Proper eye protection is crucial as it safeguards the eyes from such projectiles.
2. Avoid Wearing Loose-Fitted Clothing
Another critical safety measure for metalworking is to avoid wearing loose-fitted clothing. Metalworking frequently involves lathes or milling machines to cut or deform metal workpieces. Wearing loose clothing while using such machinery increases the risk of getting caught, which could lead to injury. Therefore, wearing close-fitting clothes is the recommended option when working with metal.
3. Utilize Gloves
In addition to eye protection, gloves can protect workers from injury while working with metal workpieces. Metal workpieces typically have sharp or jagged edges, and running your hands over such protrusions can lead to lacerations. Wearing a pair of heavy-duty gloves can protect hands from such cuts. Workers should exercise caution when handling sharp or jagged pieces of metal, but wearing gloves is always advisable when working on metal workpieces.
4. Inspect Safeguarding
Before using a machine, it is critical to inspect its safeguarding. Safeguarding comprises components that are designed to prevent bodily injury. Cutting tools, for instance, may have a barrier that prevents a worker from accessing or touching them. If the safeguarding is missing, the machine should not be used. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates the use of certain safeguarding for metalworking machines.
5. Maintain Machines and Equipment
All machines and equipment used in metalworking require regular maintenance. It must be maintained whether it is a power drill or a commercial lathe. Failure to maintain the machinery and equipment could fail during use. At the same time, machine or equipment failure could lead to physical injury.
6. Use Proper Lifting Techniques
When lifting metal pieces or tools, it is necessary to use proper lifting techniques. Improper lifting can cause back strain, which could lead to debilitating injury. The correct way to lift an object is by bending your knees and using your legs and hips to do most of the work instead of relying on one’s back.
7. Wear Hearing Protection
Using machines for metalworking can be loud, and it is essential to use proper hearing protection. Excessive noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends using noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to protect one’s ears from damage caused by loud noise.
8. Avoid Contact with Chemicals
Metalworking often involves the use of chemical agents like coolants and lubricants. Such chemicals can be hazardous to a person’s health if contact is made with them. It is essential to avoid contact with such chemicals and always wear protective clothing when working with them. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that these chemicals are stored securely and away from any potential sources of ignition or heat.
9. Practice Good Hygiene
Finally, it is essential to practice good hygiene while working with metal. This includes washing your hands after handling metals, wearing protective clothing and eye protection, and properly disposing of excess oils or coolants. Good hygiene practices can help to minimize the risk of injury while working with metal.
Workers can remain safe and healthy while working with metals following these safety measures. Proper precautions must be taken to prevent accidents or injuries that could have otherwise been avoided. The key is always to be cautious and alert when working with metal. The proper safety practices make metalworking a safe and rewarding experience.