7 Tips for CNC Machine Shop Safety

CNC machine shop safety is critical and should never be overlooked within your company. CNC machining can be dangerous, pure and simple. Even professional, experienced metalworking employees can become seriously injured from accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers guidelines and other information on keeping your machine shop safe. 

Here are 7 tips for CNC machine shop safety that any size company should adopt. 

1. Get Emergency Training

Making sure everyone in your shop can handle an emergency could save lives. Basic first-aid training, CPR and other safety training should be part of all new employee onboarding, and safety should also be included as part of periodic refresher training for all employees. You should also include emergency protocols to handle fires, chemical spills and other incidents that are likely to occur in machine shops and ensure all employees sign-off on this protocol. 

2. Wear Proper Safety Equipment & Clothing

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is vital for CNC machine shop safety. This includes wearing the proper ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, proper footwear, avoiding loose clothing, and containing long hair. Other specific environments may require other equipment, such as respirators. Consult your company’s safety manual for recommended PPE.

3. Follow Safe Operation Instructions

Although many CNC machines include features like safety interlocks that do not allow doors to open while tools are in motion, many older machines may not. Operators should always make sure safety shields are in place, doors are closed and other precautions are followed while operating CNC machines.

Company owners should consider erecting suitable barriers and warning signs throughout the shop and on machines for increased CNC machine shop safety.

4. Never Make Unauthorized Modifications to Tools or Machines

CNC machines and cutting tools are expensive investments. Altering them in any way can be extremely dangerous, can void the warranty on the product, and potentially cause serious accidents or fatalities. Some high-speed tools can actually burst through protective enclosures, causing serious injuries.

Leave all repairs or authorized modifications to trained technicians, and never attempt to modify a tool to prevent purchasing the correct tool. 

5. Keep CNC Machines, Tools, and Workspaces Clean

Cleaning machines and tools between tasks will prevent the buildup of debris and foreign matter that can cause damage to your equipment and injuries to your employees. Also, maintaining a clean and uncluttered work environment around your tools and machine shop can prevent serious trip-and-fall accidents.

6. Establish a Safety Checklist for Each CNC Machine

Establish a safety checklist for each CNC machine in your shop and require employees to follow it before each day’s work, and possibly between each task. This is a great way to identify issues that could cause problems, damage, and/or injuries before they can happen. Pre-operation inspections can include cleaning, double-checking machine and/or tool settings, visually inspecting surfaces and moving parts and ensuring that all safety guards are in place.

7. Keep Up with Preventive Maintenance

A huge step to facilitate CNC machine shop safety is to keep up with preventive maintenance on all your machines, tools and equipment. Your employees can do this in some cases, but a professionally trained and experienced technician from Accurate MTS has the tools and knowledge to perform a variety of checks and assessments on many brands of CNC machines. 

Accurate MTS offers three levels of assessments and preventive maintenance that we tailor to fit your size shop and its needs. Accurate MTS is also Wisconsin’s top distributor for FEELER CNC machines. Call us today about maintenance, repairs or other questions relating to CNC machine shop safety and productivity.