Tag Archives: safety

How to cut metal; a focus on safety

(Last modified: March 21st, 2019)

Most metal working projects will require cuts to be made during fabrication. There are many different cutting methods and equipment options available ranging from simple hand tools to industrial specialist machinery. Although all methods will result in a cut being made through metal, it is really important to choose the most appropriate process for the specified task. By understanding how the tools work, and how and when to use each method, it will be easier to make the right choice first time- saving time, money, and of course, maintaining workshop safety.

A note on safety.

When performing any task involving metal, safety should be a priority. Always follow the safety procedures laid down by workplace protocols and any training courses attended. If there are any concerns relating to workshop safety, these publications are available as free downloads from the HSE website; ‘Health and Safety in Engineering Workshops’   and  ‘The safe use of compressed gases in welding, flame cutting and allied processes’.

Personal Protective Equipment should never be overlooked, even if you think the task will be quicker to complete than hunting down your safety equipment, it is never worth the risk. PPE can help protect from burns, cuts, and metal chips becoming embedded in skin and eyes.

PPE safety sign metals4U

PPE should include;

  • A full-face welding mask for plasma cutting and protective eyewear as a minimum for all other cutting methods.
  • Ear defenders as the noise from machinery can permanently damage hearing and has been linked to the onset of tinnitus.
  • Sturdy foot protection, no-one really wants hot sparks flying in their shoes- reinforced toe boots make sense when cutting metal in case the offcut falls.
  • Long sleeved tops and full-length trousers to protect skin from hot sparks and metal chips travelling at high speed.
  • Protective gloves- make sure these are fit for purpose; holes and splits will offer no protection and if they don’t fit properly, they will restrict your movement.

Tool Safety.

saw blade metals4U

  • Always ensure tools are well maintained; check switches, cables, and consumables for signs of damage or wear and ensure blades are sharp- a dull blade is more likely to slip and jump on the metal surface which can damage the metal and lead to injury.
  • Replace consumables, such as blades and cutting discs, once signs of heavy use appear.
  • Always ensure you disconnect tools from the power supply before replacing the blades or performing any adjustments to the settings.

Workshop safety.

workshop metals4U

  • Keep the floor and surfaces free from clutter, trailing flexes, and debris.
  • Take your time- Rushing about in a workshop environment can increase the risk of trips, slips and injury.
  • Wipe up spills immediately to reduce the risk of liquids coming into contact with electrical items.
  • Take extra care when handling flammable substances.
  • Do not let children into the workshop unsupervised, if they are watching an adult work, they should also be provided with suitable PPE.

Following the above suggestions should help keep you safe while cutting metal in the workplace or home workshop.

To find out about all the different types of metal cutting processes and guidance on how to perform them, please click on the links below.

 

score and snap tools metals4U

Cutting metal using score and snap

reciprocating saw metals4U

Cutting metal with a reciprocating saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cnc guillotine metals4U

Cutting metal with a guillotine

tin snips metals4U

Cutting metal with tin snips

 

 

 

 

 

chop saw metals4U

Cutting metal with a chopsaw and mitre saw

pipe cutter

Cutting metal with a pipe cutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

metals4U jigsaw

Cutting metal with a jigsaw

metals4U angle grinder

Cutting metal with an angle grinder or disc cutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

metals4u hacksaw

Cutting metal with a hacksaw

metals4U bandsaw

Cutting metal with a bandsaw

 

 

 

 

 

metals4U circular saw

Cutting metal with a circular saw

metals4U plasma cutting

Cutting metal with a plasma cutter