Working with metalworking machinery requires taking certain precautions to protect yourself from flying metal particles. Specific areas of the body should be protected including the hands, arms, face, and eyes, as well as other areas of the body. Before discussing various bodily risks, your work wear is just as important as personal protection equipment (PPE).
You should never wear loose-fitting clothes around machinery and equipment that could potentially get caught in moving parts and components and which would result in serious bodily injuries. This also includes employee identification lanyards and neck ties, as these items can swing freely and could accidentally get caught in the machine.
Metal particles of all sizes can contain sharp points and edges. When they become airborne, the amount of force can cause the particles to puncture into different parts of the body without the proper PPE.
One of the most common types of workplace injuries that could occur without any protection is an injury to one or both eyes. Metal particles can puncture the outer eye as well as get trapped in between the eyelid, resulting in scratched and damaged retinas. Always make sure to wear the right type of safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
Face and Head Protection
There are different types of face masks, hard hats, and other PPE which can reduce the risks associated with flying metal particles.
When working close to moving parts and components, you want to ensure the hands are protected from metal particles. It is important to choose the right type of work gloves that provide the right protection based upon the type of work being performed. Some gloves are not recommended because they make operating the machinery and handling materials difficult.
Arm and Upper Body Protection
It is a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts to protect the arms from accidentally cuts and scrapes from flying metal particles. Coveralls or shop coats would be suitable PPE alternatives to ensure the arms and upper body were sufficiently protected.
Lower Body and Legs
Thick jeans or industrial pants should provide protection from most types of flying metal particles. However, in environments where there is a large number of particles being created, coveralls should also be worn to provide an added layer of protection.
Let’s not overlook the feet because they also need protection, depending on the angle and direction the particles are being emitted from the machinery. Quite frequently, the particles are ejected downward toward the feet. Thick steel-toed work boots are recommended in many working environments as they provide the necessary protection.
Last, prior to starting work on any type of metalworking equipment or machinery, review the safety precautions and required PPE needed to operate the machine. Never, under any circumstances, enter a production or work area without the proper PPE.
For information on the latest metal fabrication and machine shop machinery and equipment, feel free to contact us, here at Quantum Machinery by calling (909) 476-8007 to speak with one of our sales engineers today!