How to use a sheet metal bending machine safely
Metals are widely used in industry, with their properties making them a popular choice for many manufacturers. They are stable, hardwearing and solid materials and are malleable, so they are easily shaped to form finished products. They can also be heated into a molten state and poured into a mould.
While manual labour is still used in some industries in the bending and shaping process, bending machines are more common, particularly when items are being mass produced. Although the reduced manual intervention means that the process is generally safer, there are still risks to using heavy machinery. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to use sheet metal bending machines safely.
As with any machine, ensuring it is well maintained will help it to run more smoothly and safely. Regular service checks in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines are a great place to start, while getting into good habits such as cleaning machines regularly, oiling where necessary, checking electrical cables are still intact and any guards are in good working order will help to ensure the safe operation of the machine. Much like your car, allowing the machine to warm up ahead of its first use of the day will help it to operate more effectively. These measures will all contribute to reducing the risk of accidents caused by a malfunction of the machine.
Protective equipment is a really handy way to stay safe when using bending machines; for example, gloves protect your hands from the sharp edges of sheets or waste particles and safety shoes protect your feet. Goggles will also help to protect your eyes from any flyaway particles produced throughout the process. If you are unsure about the equipment you should provide operators with, the Health and Safety Executive has some useful guidance on how to make an informed decision.
Whatever the circumstances in which you are using the machine, it is important to have some form of training before you start. This could be as simple as reading the operating instructions fully, watching some online tutorials, or – if you are an operator in a larger organisation – some formal training from an experienced user. Being familiar with the machine and the safety measures available will help you to use the machine safely.