Hot off the press: Safety training for high-risk machines

Whilst Power Presses aren’t exactly a hot topic, they’ve been around since the mid-19th century and have always been considered high-risk machines. It’s therefore essential that they’re properly inspected, tested and maintained to keep operators safe from serious injury.

Big or small, Power Presses require safety precautions and so operators need to receive adequate training and machines need to be guarded and maintained properly. With this in mind we’ve listed some basic safety rules to be observed on the shop floor:

Physical

Since the press applies tons of pressure, parts can go flying in every direction in the event something gives way – it’s therefore vital to protect your eyes. In addition, don’t try to remove anything stuck in the die with your bare hands: if it pops suddenly, you could sustain severe cuts. Fire and electrocution hazards may also occur with powered systems.

Chemical

Some production situations require consideration of how chemicals can affect human health. Hydraulic fluids and lubricants can cause dermatitis if they are in contact with skin. Epoxies and liquid steel used for some dies are strong sensitizers as well, so beware of fumes and skin contact. Some of the die material used may also be a chemical threat that causes skin problems.

Ergonomics

Press workstations need to be adjusted to a comfortable working height. Using a hydraulic table will facilitate products loading at the comfortable height (between knee and shoulder height) while a hydraulic lift will also contribute greatly to reduce back injuries. Don’t refrain from using stands or other aids to hold pieces in the proper position.

Final thoughts

Injuries can be prevented. Overall, using common sense and abiding by safety rules such as mounting your equipment properly, as recommended by your hydraulic press manufacturer will ensure a safer working environment.

Equipment also needs to be checked and maintained regularly. Basic safety equipment in good condition such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be used and be easily available to all press operators. In addition, oils and lubricants should be stored away according to fire safety rules, as they can present a fire hazard.

If you’d like to learn more about Power press Safety and the suite of machinery safety courses we deliver, please call us on +44 (0)121 248 2233, email or visit our website.

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