If you work in the manufacturing and metalworking industry, keeping your workers safe is of paramount importance. If your business puts workers at risk, you may violate OSHA regulations and face stiff fines – and workplace injuries may end up costing you serious money, and interrupting production schedules and time frames.
Die-based machines like hydraulic press brake machinery are often the cause of serious injury among workers. In fact, approximately three-fifths of all workplace-related amputations involve some kind of die, or other mechanically-based power press system.
Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial that you follow safety best practices when working with hydraulic press brake machinery. Here are 5 of the easiest, most effective ways to safeguard your employees – and your business – when working with these powerful metal-bending tools.
- Keep Workspaces Clean And Debris-Free, And Maintain Press Brakes Regularly
If a hydraulic press is in an area that is clean, well-lit, and debris free, it’s a much more safe tool. Ideally, you should keep excess debris and tools in the workspace to an absolute minimum. Reducing clutter helps operators focus on the task at hand, and also reduces the risk of common issues like slips and trips, which could result in serious injuries or fatalities when operating heavy equipment.
It also goes without saying that your press brake should be maintained and examined regularly to ensure proper, faultless operation. Follow all maintenance instructions in your user’s manual and technical documentation without fail – this will reduce the risk of machine failure, and potential injury to workers.
- Make Use Of Modern Light Curtains
Safety light curtains can be used in most modern hydraulic press brakes, and most other die-based machinery.
These devices are simple in their operation. They project a light beam at the front of the point of operations. If an obstruction of any kind interrupts or “breaks” this beam of light during the downward stroke of the machinery, it will stop.
This ensures that any debris or material that is accidentally placed in front of or within the press brake will be undamaged. In addition, if an operator is in an area of danger, and breaks the light beam, the machine will stop – protecting life and limb.
Light curtains are not foolproof, and do not work effectively during the upstroke of a press brake, as the brake itself obstructs their operation. But they are extremely useful as a preventive measure, and help increase worker safety.
- Always Use Die Blocks When Servicing Machinery
Accidental dropping of a press brake is extremely rare, but it does happen. The best way to ensure that a press brake cannot drop during servicing, examination or maintenance is with die blocks.
Die block are placed directly underneath the press brake while it is raised. Multiple die blocks will usually be required, depending on the static load of the press brake. These blocks physically prevent the press brake from being lowered, ensuring that any person or object underneath the press brake is safe, even from accidental operation or lowering of the brake.
- Immediately Shut Off The Press Brake If There Is An Error
Your workers should be trained in all press brake safety best practices – but this is the most important one, in our view. If something goes wrong with a press brake, your employees should never attempt to investigate the problem themselves, without first informing a supervisor or taking appropriate safety precautions.
If the press brake jams, sticks, or otherwise malfunctions, workers should inform a supervisor immediately. This way, proper safety precautions can be taken while investigating the cause of machine failure, and risk to life and limb can be minimized or reduced altogether.
Many press brake incidents occur because a worker decides to investigate a press brake issue without first consulting a supervisor, and an accident occurs that causes grievous personal bodily harm.
Follow These Tips – Stay Safe When Using Hydraulic Press Brake Machinery!
A hydraulic press brake from Empire Machinery & Tools Ltd, is a powerful and versatile tool, and it demands respect and proper use. With these helpful tools, you can ensure that your workers have the training and tools required to use your press brake properly, and avoid both equipment damage and injury.