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The various phases of metal fabrication present inherent dangers to life and limb. However, if these functions are performed with an awareness of the safety hazards that are present, injuries and death can be avoided. Each tool or machine used in metal fabrication has specific safety issues of which a fabricator should be aware.
Using for cutting flat sheets of metal to size, shears present a special danger to the operator's fingers. Although guards will prevent fingers from accessing the blade area, the design of some guards allow the operator to place their fingers too close.
When the shear blade comes down, thicker metal may bounce slightly from the force of the blade. This may cause the fingertips to be pinched between the guard and the metal. If pinched with sufficient force, the fingertips may be crushed or removed.
Fingertips should be kept completely outside the shear's safety guard when cutting. When cutting a narrow piece of metal, use a small strip of scrap metal to push it to the blade, not your fingers.
Rollers, which are used to roll metal into circular shapes, do not discriminate. They will roll any item placed between their rollers, including fingers or other body parts. Loose clothing or jewelry should be tucked away or removed before using a power roller. Long hair should be tied back.
All rollers should have a foot pedal in addition to a forward and reverse hand control lever. This allows the operator to stop the rotation of the roller if a sleeve, glove, or other item gets caught and begins to pull them into the roller.
If the operator's glove or sleeve gets caught, they can immediately remove their foot from the foot pedal to stop the roller, and if their foot gets jammed between the foot pedal and the pedal guard which sits atop the roller, they can use the hand control to stop the roller.
Welding and grinding equipment
Tools used in welding and grinding affect the safety of everyone in the vicinity of the activity. When welding is performed in open areas, welding curtains should be erected to protect other workers and passersby from the flash of the welding machine. Smoke eaters, which absorb smoke and noxious fumes when welding is performed, should also be used when welding is performed away from a designated welding area with an exhaust fan.
Eye and ear protection must be worn by everyone in the area when grinding is performed. Pieces of slag will fly in all directions, even with a grinder guard in place, as the grinder is moved into different positions. and noise levels will be produced that can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or permanent hearing loss.
Safety protection must be used at all times. Never attempt to make a quick cut, adjust a roll, or grind a rough section of weld without using the proper precautions. Failure to do so could cost you your eyesight, loss of a body part, or your life. For more safety tips, talk to a professional like Moorhead Machinery & Boiler Co.