Automated CNC cutting systems are complex cutting tools, on which operators should be trained for best safety practices. At EZCut CNC, our systems are easy to use and built with a variety of safety features but as one of our Value Components we include on-site installation and training to ensure that our customers have the best, most safe experience when using our CNC cutting systems.
Not only is safety important for the metal fabricator but for the employer as well. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has set forth guidelines to protect employees that work in the metal fabrication industry to ensure their safety is prioritized. Further, when a business remains OSHA compliant it reduces their risk of litigation and can even reduce insurance costs. The Fabricator elaborates on the importance of prioritizing safety and remaining OSHA compliant in metal fabrication shops, “OSHA has regulations for both facets of thermal spray environment, and shops should be aware of some practical safety tips for how to comply with those regulations. Thermal spray equipment normally is operated in special enclosures designed to reduce noise levels, extract fumes, and provide direct viewing of the spray nozzle when it’s used in high production environments. Occasionally R&D projects, large parts, low production runs, or complex part geometry may require manual spray operations. When the operator has to work directly with the part, the engineering controls provided to ensure operator safety often are ignored. Following a few safety rules and being conscious of potential hazards can help ensure operator safety during manual operation of the thermal spray process… Plasma systems with much brighter arc intensity operate between 280 and 220 nm, also called the UV-C region. Plasma systems operating in this range also generate ozone. The cornea of the eye absorbs the UV from these regions easily, leading to a condition called flash burn after prolonged exposure. The severity of flash burn depends on the duration of exposure, UV wavelengths, and the energy level at which the luminance and radiance are produced during the process. Eyes can be damaged without discomfort during exposure. UV produced by thermal spray processes can affect exposed skin, causing sunburn, sun tanning, and changes in skin cell growth. Repeated exposure to UV may decrease skin elasticity. This can give the appearance of premature aging and can lead to a higher risk of skin cancer. It is important to install UV dark glass or shades over the windows of spray booths and enclosures. If this is not possible, operators and others in the area should wear No. 6 green welding goggles. They also should place welding screens around open spray areas and never allow the themselves or others to view the plume of a spray gun without adequate eye protection… The thermal spray process atomizes molten metals, creating dust and fumes that can be dangerous to the operator. Engineering controls such as dust collectors, ventilation, and air makeup units are necessary to provide good spray coatings and to protect the operator’s health and safety. All finely divided metal particles are potentially ignitable and should not accumulate as dust in the spray environment. Materials such as aluminum, zinc, and other base metals may react with water to produce hydrogen, an explosive gas. Other sprayed materials also can be hazardous. For example, nickel and chromium are suspected carcinogens. Fumes from bronze, zinc, and copper alloys are unpleasant to smell and may cause a fever-type reaction known as brass chills. Where engineering controls and good ventilation are not available, a supplied-air, positive-pressure or SCBA respirator may be necessary. If engineering controls and good ventilation are available, a negative-pressure half-mask respirator equipped with OV/P-100 filters should be used as a minimum. OV stands for organic vapor, the P stands for oilproof, and the 100 stands for 99.97 percent efficient against solid or liquid particles, including oil-based particles.” When investing in a new CNC plasma cutting system with EZCut CNC, should you have any safety questions, please feel free to ask us and we will help provide you with suggestions for creating a safe work environment.