7 Essential Machine Operator Safety Tips

Nov 27, 2017

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workplace injuries that result in six or more days of lost work cost our country’s businesses more than $1 billion per week. It’s estimated that a single work-related injury averages $38,000 in direct and indirect costs.
Workplace injuries cost time and money and affect overall productivity. Protect your employees and company by instituting these valuable machine operator safety tips:

Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

  • Safety goggles and earplugs are a must.
  • Use safety boots or other suitable footwear.
  • Long hair should be covered or pulled back.
  • Avoid loose clothing and jewelry.

Maintain a Safe Distance

This rule applies to both people and objects. Workers always should stand clear of the machine, taking particular care with placement of hands. Operators should allow at least a six-inch margin for a safe working distance.
In addition, the floor space around the machine should always be kept free of obstacles. Work materials should be stacked in a convenient location, but away from moving parts.
One more note of caution: never leave a CNC machine unattended during operation.

Follow Maintenance Schedule

When a machine fails to perform properly, it increases the risk of injury. Wear and tear can’t be avoided, but you can extend the effective life of the machine by following the recommended maintenance schedule.

Make Sure Operators Are Fully Trained

On-the-job training is acceptable for some activities, but for CNC machine operation it’s a recipe for disaster. Make arrangements for employees to receive full training before assuming the operation of a CNC machine.

Clean Up After Each Use

The purpose of this rule is two-fold:

  • Even the smallest particles lodged in the machine can cause damage or malfunction.
  • Saw dust, wood chips and other debris that land on the floor create a hazard for the operator and other workers in the shop.

Double-Check Program Data

CNC machines provide previously unattainable levels of quality and precision with less labor, but what comes out is only as good as what goes in. Always double-check the programmed instructions for accuracy.

Don’t Use the Machine Table as a Workbench

Using the machine for makeshift purposes is one of the easiest ways to cause damage. It can also result in workers becoming more casual, making them a bit lax in observing other safety procedures.
CNC machines can provide a major return on investment in reduced labor and increased productivity. Maintain that return by setting appropriate standards for machine operator safety.