Cutting and Punching Tools Safety

Learn how to use cutting and punching tools safely

Because cutting tools and punching tools have sharp blades necessary for cutting material such as metal, caution needs to be observed when operating these machines. It is imperative that the operator observe certain guidelines as far as operation, or risk injury while working with the machine.

Below, you will find information about cutting and punching tools safety. This information will help you better know the safe way to operate a metal cutting tool as well as a punching tool. This information can help your company preserve a safe working environment for its employees as well as reduce serious injury.

1. Learn the OSHA regulations regarding cutting and punching tools.

2. Wear the proper safety equipment when operating metal punching tools and metal cutting tools.

3. Inspect the work area and the machine before using cutting and punching tools.

Become familiar with OSHA regulations regarding cutting and punching tools

OSHA, as might be expected, has written regulations regarding cutting and punching tools safety. The information is very complete, and spells out what the operator should be aware of when working with these potentially dangerous machines.
OSHA's "Basics of Machine Safeguarding" is important information with which the metal punch and cutter operator should know. Lab Safety Supply has helpful information regarding the OSHA regulations as well as informative illustrations.

Wear the proper safety gear when operating cutting and punching tools

Wearing the proper safety gear is important, for this protects the operator of the cutting and punching tools, thus helping to reduce workplace injury. The proper gear is: eye protection, ear protection and foot protection (steel toed boots). Depending on the material cut or punched, gloves should be included in this list as well.
Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source has a helpful list of safety gear the operator should wear when operating cutting and punching tools. Galeton has a wide range of safety equipment such as eye protection, ear protection and more. Red Wing Shoes has a wide selection of steel toed boots.

Inspect the work area and the machine before using cutting and punching tools

It is necessary to not only inspect the machine before using it, but the area around the machine as well. Be sure that the work area is clear of potential tripping hazards, electrical cords and the like. Keep the area around the machine clear of debris. Inspect the cutting and punching machine to make sure the machine guard is firmly in place and that they are in good condition and not damaged. Keep the edges of the cutting and punching machine's guards smooth and rounded as sharp edges on the guards can create a hazard. Make sure the machine is properly lubricated before using it. Follow any guidelines punching tool manufacturers provides regarding the machines' maintenance and operation.
Electro-Stock is an example of a punching tool manufacturer that provides complete operator's manuals with their products. Click on the PDF link to access the information that accompanies their machines. "Machine Safeguarding—Shop and Lab Machine Safety" has helpful information on conducting inspections of the machine and work area.