Nearly half of all press brake-related injuries result in amputation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA Standard 1910.212 requires guarding for machines like press brakes, but the type of guard or safeguard device varies with the type of press brake and application. In addition, other OSHA standards for general workplace safety also apply.
Accidental injury or death may result from improper guarding or unsafe operation when using a press brake. The press brake operator could lose or crush an arm, hand or other body part if caught in the press brake during regular operation or accidental operation. Handling the sheet metal also poses a risk to the operator. When the brake bends the sheet, the metal will bend up or down quickly and may injure the operator. Metal sheets also have sharp edges and are sometimes slippery to lift and handle during press brake operation.
OSHA Standard 1910.212, "General Requirements for all Machines", requires guards on machines, including press brakes. Barrier guards must be attached to the machine to protect the user from contact with the moving parts of the press. The guards must not cause further hazard and must allow for maximum visibility. OSHA may require other safeguarding devices including:
~an emergency stop button;
~restraint devices, which attach to the operator restricting movement close to the press;
~pullback devices, which also attach to the operator, but pull the wrists back when close to the machine;
~a presence-sensing device that shuts down the machine whenever a person is in the sensing field; or
~a two-handed control that prevents accidental operation of the press brake by requiring two hands to operate.
Other Safety Procedures
Other OSHA requirements for general work safety apply to press brake operation. The work area should be kept clean with a non-slip floor. Workers should wear eye and face protection, as always when working with this type of machinery. Electrical and transmission components must be enclosed. Finally, lockout, tag-out procedures must be followed before performing maintenance or repairs on the press brake.
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