Working with metal poses some unique hazards that aren't found in carpentry or woodworking jobs. Metal, of course, is typically harder and sharper than wood. If you aren't careful, you could injure yourself on a metal workpiece. If your job involves metalworking, you should follow these five safety tips to protect against injury.
#1) Wear Eye Protection
Always wear eye protection when working with metal. Work-related eye injuries are common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 20,000 U.S. workers sustain an eye injury each year. Metalworking industries, such as manufacturing, often have higher rates of eye injuries than other industries. This is due to the fact that machined metal can create shrapnel that launches into a worker's eye. With proper eye protection, though, your eyes will be protected from such shrapnel.
#2) Avoid Loose-Fitted Clothing
Another metalworking safety tip is to avoid wearing loose-fitted clothing. Metalworking often involves the use of machines, such as lathes or milling machines, to cut or deform metal workpieces. If you wear loose-fitted clothes, it may get caught in one of these machines. Therefore, you should avoid wearing loose-fitted clothes when working on metal workpieces.
#3) Wear Gloves
Along with eye protection, wearing gloves can protect you from injury when working on metal workpieces. Metal workpieces often have sharp or jagged edges. Running your hands across one of the protrusions may cause a laceration. With a pair of heavy-duty clothes, your hands will be protected from lacerations such as this. You should avoid use caution to avoid touching sharp or jagged pieces of metal, but it's always a good idea to wear gloves when working on metal workpieces.
#4) Inspect Safeguarding
Before using a machine, inspect its safeguarding. Safeguarding consists of components that are designed to protect against bodily injury. Cutting tools, for example, may contain a barrier that prevents a worker from touching or otherwise accessing them. If the safeguarding is missing, you shouldn't use the machine. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of certain safeguarding for metalworking machines.
#5) Maintain Machines and Equipment
All metalworking machines and equipment require regular maintenance. Whether it's a power drill or a commercial lathe, it must be maintained. When machines and equipment are neglected, they could fail during use. At the same time, failure of the machine or equipment could lead to physical injury.