Machinists use various tools and machinery to shape, cut, and assemble materials into components. Machine shops supply parts to many industries, including the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.
Machinists operate lathes, milling machines, grinders, and more. They work with sharp tools with fast-moving parts that can cause serious injuries in seconds. Learn about three common machine shop injuries and how to avoid them.
Equipment Use Injuries
Machine-related incidents can cause severe injuries, including fractures, crushing, and amputations. Therefore, wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment is essential. For example, one of the safety rules for using drill bits is to avoid wearing gloves because they can get pulled by the drill bit’s rotating edges.
Workers should also use safety guards provided by the equipment manufacturer. When performing machine maintenance or repair, use a lockout/tagout procedure to avoid accidental activation.
Machine shops use lubricants, solvents, cleaning agents, and other chemicals. Improper handling and exposure beyond permissible limits can lead to skin irritations, respiratory problems, and other health ailments.
Minimize the risk of chemical exposure with safe storage and labeling. Labels should explain the contained chemical’s contents, hazards, and necessary safety precautions.
Gloves, goggles, and respiratory equipment can minimize chemical exposure. Well-ventilated areas will help prevent harmful gases from building up to unsafe levels.
Lacerations and Cuts
Sharp tools, rough material edges, and abrasive materials can cause lacerations and cuts. Machinists must handle sharp tools cautiously and never leave exposed blades unattended. Store sharp tools neatly to prevent accidental contact with the cutting edge.
Safety Tip: Keep Blades Sharp
Dull blades increase the risk of injury because the worker must apply more force when cutting. Sharp edges cut more reliably and don’t require as much pressure, making them easier to control. Be sure to replace or sharpen dull blades when needed.
Equipment use injuries, chemical exposure, and lacerations and cuts are hazards machinists face while on the job. Workers should know these common machine shop injuries and how to avoid them for a safer worksite and consistent processes. Proper training, equipment maintenance, personal protective equipment, and following safety procedures and best practices can minimize occupational injuries.