These Are the Top 3 CNC Machine Hazards & How to Avoid Them

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines have revolutionized the manufacturing industry, offering precision and efficiency for a variety of applications. While these machines have become a great asset for modern manufacturing, they also present various safety challenges for users. From mechanical to health and electrical hazards, operators and maintenance staff need to be always vigilant of the dangers CNC machines present. However, CNC machine hazards can be effectively mitigated with thoughtful safety initiatives.

The Mechanical Hazards of CNC Machines

One of the most obvious aspects of CNC machine hazards is mechanical risk. Single-rotating parts like shafts or couplings can be especially risky as they can snag loose clothing or become entangled with body parts, leading to severe injuries. Similarly, multiple rotating components like pulley drives, rollers, or exposed gears create pinch points, which can lead to crush injuries.

Any parts that slide or swivel, such as mechanical arms, present a shearing or crushing risk. Additionally, certain machinery components can rupture or fragment, posing a risk of impact injuries.

To counter these mechanical CNC machine hazards, protective measures such as installing barriers, two-hand controls, and interlocks can go a long way in enhancing safety. Along with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), comprehensive training and safe machine operation are also crucial to preventing accidents. As part of safe operations, daily machine inspections can quickly identify problems so they can be fixed before they have the potential to cause injury.

Health Hazards Beyond Physical Injuries

Beyond the mechanical risks, CNC machines expose operators to health hazards that often go unnoticed. Toxic or corrosive chemicals can penetrate through the skin or cause severe burns. Airborne substances like metal fumes, oil mist and dust are inhalation risks and can damage lungs over the long term. Many machine shops are prone to excessive heat, noise, and vibration, which can have a debilitating effect on workers over an extended period. Heat-related illnesses, nerve damage from vibrations, and even hearing loss from not wearing appropriate PPE are some of the potential outcomes presented by CNC machine hazards.

Effective management of these hazards involves proper storage and handling protocols for chemicals, along with mandatory training for their safe transportation.  For mitigating inhalation risks, installing dust collectors, mist collectors and other pollution control equipment can help to combat airborne inhalation risks. Appropriate PPE can protect against vibration and other physical damage, as well as mitigate the effects of noise and prevent hearing loss. Job rotation can also help with physical factors, as can cooling and hydration breaks in machine shops subject to high temperatures. 

Electrical and Thermal Dangers in Mechanical Shops

A major concern when it comes to CNC machine hazards is the electrical dangers that stem from the machinery’s need for high voltage or current.  Improper grounding, faulty wiring, failures in lock-out tag-out procedures, and even power surges can cause electrical shocks, burns, or fatal electrocutions. CNC machines can also generate considerable heat, sparks, or flames, posing thermal hazards that could lead to burns, fires, or explosions.

To mitigate these risks, employees and management must ensure that all door interlocks are operational and that all guarding mechanisms are securely in place. Additionally, machines should be inspected by qualified personnel on a regular basis. Identifying both wear-and-tear or irregularities allows problems to be fixed before they escalate into serious CNC machine hazards.

Partner with Accurate Machine Tool Services

By implementing robust safety measures like barriers, PPE, and comprehensive training programs, employers can protect their workforce from these CNC machine hazards. Partnering with Accurate MTS provides a proactive approach that prioritizes safety. With our mechanical and electrical repair services, as well as our preventative maintenance packages, we can identify problems before they become hazards.

Contact us today to keep your machines running at peak performance while enhancing the safety of your employees.