Learn what to do, and what not to do, to keep yourself safe when you operate CNC machinery. Computer numerical control (CNC) machines are generally safe. But worker misuse can easily jeopardize their safety. That’s why it’s important for their operators to know exactly what they should – and should not – do.
When your workplace is safe, you’re able to attract the best employees. Worker satisfaction and productivity stay high. Turnover and costs related to workplace accidents stay low. So here’s what to look for to keep your workers safe:
1. Only Operate CNC Machines You’ve Been Trained to Use
Sounds obvious and simple, but some companies do allow untrained employees to operate CNC machinery with little or no training. Many accidents do happen this way.
2. Always Have at Least One Person Observing the CNC Machine
For some, it’s tempting to leave the room while the programmed CNC machine does its work. Most likely, nothing will go wrong. But once in a while, CNC machines break or don’t work right. It happens. They’re machines. And that’s when injuries can happen too. So make sure you have every CNC machine under observation by at least one person.
3. Always Do These Things Before Operating Your CNC Machine
Here’s a brief list of to-dos:
Make sure the CNC machine isn’t operating when you load a tool magazine
- Ensure the tools are sharp and free of cracks
Double-check to make sure all tools are set correctly
- Double-check that you have set the right tool data for the program
- Test tools before every new use
- Examine seating surfaces for cleanliness before installing new tools
- Set the spindle direction correctly for right and left-handed operators
- Only use tools within manufacturer limits and tighten them to their recommended torque
4. A Few Things Never to do Before Operation
Pretty simple and straightforward here. Never use blunt, cracked, or chipped tools.If you notice tools with damaged tips, don’t use those either.
5. If You Use a CNC Router…
Before you operate a CNC router, make sure there aren’t any screws in the path of the bit. At best, the bit will get broken and the screw will get embedded into your project. However, in some cases the screw can shoot off and hit you or another worker. If, during operation, you notice anything unusual with the bit, hit the pause button, or the red emergency button for immediate shutdown. Fix the problem before you begin operating again.
6. Always Make Sure You’re Mentally Focused
If you’re not feeling well and it’s hard for you to concentrate because of a sickness, don’t use CNC machinery. Supervisors, send your workers home if you notice them behaving unusually. Workers, notify your supervisors if something doesn’t seem right. Better to miss a few hours of work that cause an injury to yourself or someone else. And, better to leave work than it is to break the machine and cause costly repairs and downtime. Do those things – and you and your workers will stay safe.