steel plates on metal pole building walls for protection

Staying Safe When Using A Press Brake

Press brakes are excellent at molding and bending sheet metal, but don't be fooled by their seemingly straightforward operation. Mistakes can happen, and big pieces of sheet metal -- as well as the powerful press -- can leave nasty injuries. For new workers, a well-operating press may seem like not that big a threat, but they still need to start off with full safety gear. And a lot of long-time workers, who might be a bit too comfortable with the machines, could use a refresher training talk.

Gloves Must Be Cut-Resistant

Gloves have to allow for proper handling of the metal, but they must also be cut-resistant. Very thin metal edges can be dangerous, as can the sharp corners of each sheet. And if the worker is retrieving sheet metal from a cutter, that's a cut risk right there. All gloves must be cut-resistant and fit well, with no looseness or overly large fingertips that could get caught in machinery.

Do Not Forget Arm Guards

Wrists, forearms, and elbows are also at risk both from cutters and the press brake, as well as the larger, heavier sheets of metal. Long-sleeved shirts are nice, but they do not offer adequate protection against bruises and cuts. If a worker is standing too close to the metal as it bends, for example, the edge of the metal could catch and scrape the worker's arm. Even a small incident can delay production as the worker seeks a bandage and fills out an incident form. All workers using this machine or related machines need to wear arm guards.

Not Just Any Work Boot Will Do

Your facility's basic dress code should include heavy work boots, but anyone going near these machines in particular needs hard work boots that won't crumple under sudden weight. If any of those sheets of metal are heavy, and they drop, you need that worker's feet protected well. Any time there is a part that the worker needs to transport, you need that worker to wear the best possible protective foot gear.

Press brakes are not the most dangerous machines around, but they exert a lot of force on metal that is otherwise tough to bend. Human limbs would not stand a chance with that machine, and if the sheet metal going through the machine were to connect with the workers somehow, that could result in a lot of injury. Always ensure workers, especially newer workers, learn what protective gear is essential.