The importance of machine shop safety cannot be overstated. Above all, facility owners and managers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe in the course of their everyday operations. Machine shop safety issues can also impact the health of a business, especially if problems go unaddressed.

Below, you’ll find five machine shop safety tips for CNC equipment, including milling machine safety, turning machine safety, etc. Once you read those, you’ll learn more about why to follow them.

  1. Have a CNC safety checklist for pre-operations inspections. One of the best ways to engage in CNC machine safety is to identify any issues before they have the opportunity to occur. This is best achieved by carrying out a pre-check prior to beginning a machining process, ensuring that the equipment is prepared to operate properly and safely. While this doesn’t need to be a comprehensive functionality check — which would be inefficient if used in this way — a basic checklist of items to review can be extremely useful. These might include:
  • Check that the machine is not currently in operation (to prevent injuries during loading)
  • Confirm that the machine has been spot-cleaned of debris after the last use (and remove any debris if present)
  • Double-check that the spindle direction is correct
  • Visually inspect all surfaces and moving parts
  • Guarantee that safety measures (such as guards) are in place

Believe it or not, these simple checks can prevent common CNC machine injuries.

  1. Ensure that the right people are operating and observing. Personnel should only use equipment on which they have been trained, and for which they are approved. This is true for any machinery, from the most complex to the simplest. Any equipment in a manufacturing facility can pose a danger if used improperly. Note that in situations where a machine or a process is being observed, that person should also be properly trained and approved to know what to identify.
  2. Machine tool safety is just as important. Machine tools should be inspected just as closely as the machine itself. Ensure that tools aren’t cracked or chipped, and that they remain honed and sharp. The operator should also confirm that tools are properly loaded and fastened, and have been cleaned of debris since their last use.
  3. Make sure everyone can handle an emergency. Training all personnel is key, in the event that an emergency occurs. Fundamental machinery operation as well as basic first-aid and emergency procedures should be a staple of all training processes — including onboarding and retraining. Remember, there’s no guarantee that the right person will be in the right place at the right time to prevent an accident or injury, so it’s better to be confident that as many people as possible know how to respond.
  4. Close processes the right way. Just as it’s important to carry out pre-process checks, operators should also conduct numerous simple reviews after finishing a process:
  • Spot clean for any debris
  • Check tools for any damage or dulling incurred
  • Assure that the machine is properly shut down

Why Are CNC Safety Processes Important?

As mentioned above — and worth repeating — personnel safety is the top priority of shop owners and management. By implementing tangible safety processes, facilities are able to give themselves the best chance at preventing incidents and maintaining safety.

Shop accidents, and the lack or failure of processes to prevent them, can lead to sanctions (such as from OSHA), loss of certification, damage to reputation and lost business.

High-quality, reliable tooling is a key component of shop safety, and the tooling checks mentioned above are only as effective as the tools on which they are being executed. CNC Exchange provides extensive tooling services to help your machines run as effectively, reliably and — most of all — safely as possible.

For more information about our tooling services, contact CNC Exchange today.