Safety Tips for Operating CNC Machines

Here we go again. Another “Safety” article telling you how to keep all your fingers and toes as well as other essential body parts. You would swear that if someone told you to wear your safety glasses again, you would punch them in the nose! No, this isn’t that kind of safety article. This article is about keeping your CNC machine safe. And there’s a little bit about keeping your body in the same condition it arrived to work in.

CNC Operators Have a Code

Everyone, from the home enthusiast with a cool, little 3-axis tabletop machine to a super-sophisticated, high-tech, 6-axis automated wonder has to keep their CNC equipment in top condition. To do otherwise risks disaster. That might be a bit of an overstatement, but if you’ve ever seen what happens when a production floor CNC machine goes out of whack, you know how expensive, confounding, and totally wasteful things get in a hurry. That’s why CNC operators have a code of conduct that states “take care of that which takes care of you”. In other words, having a fully-functioning CNC machine will ensure that operator safety and machine safety are both observed.

Think Ahead So You Don’t Get Behind

Planning and preparation usually result in a proper result. It’s the old adage that says “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. Safety protocols concerning CNC operation are an integral part of the planning stage. The tools and equipment used on CNC machines have no conscience when it comes to damaging their operator. And because the machine doesn’t care, you should. Gloves, glasses, masks, and filters are part of the process, and handling the equipment and materials demands knowledge and skill, or else the Insta-care clinic might get a visit. Read the safety warnings and understand the chemicals, equipment, functionality, and protocols in place to prevent injury. It’s one subject you can’t over-focus on.

If keeping up with machine maintenance isn’t in the cards for your schedule, consider hiring professional machine maintenance to cover this important step.

Get Smart

CNC safety isn’t rocket science. However, it does take a little time and effort to become acquainted with important procedures and protocols. Checklists and daily operating reports can help guarantee that both the CNC machine and its operator are ready to get to work. Floor supervisors and managers don’t want injuries on their watch, especially when those injuries could have been avoided. Following proper procedures before, during, and after using the machine will go a long way toward keeping everyone and everything safe and running at peak performance. Thinking and acting diligently means keeping your body intact, the production line running smoothly, and nobody having to file lots of workers’ compensation paperwork.

Rewards Abound

If you think about it, CNC safety can lead to bigger and better things. Not only do you retain functioning body parts, but the CNC machine receives better maintenance, and CNC operators keep their jobs. Operators could even get raises, bonuses, and promotions! It all boils down to some simple but important attention to what is common sense. CNC machines can do a lot of good, but they can also do a lot of damage. Respect this fact and keep focused on following safety procedures, ALWAYS using safety equipment, and employing safe practices, and the rewards will come.

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