6 Safety Concerns when Cutting Sheet Metal
The job of cutting sheet metal doesn’t come without some significant dangers. This material is extremely sharp around the edges, especially when it is newly cut off of a larger sheet. Sheet metal workers need to know how to handle all of the safety issues involved in this task, where research in ergonomics, hazardous materials and other aspects of construction has shown that cutting sheet metal has its own risks. Here are some things to look out for in a job that involves cutting and moving pieces of sheet metal.
1. Hand cutting hazards
Many sheet metal workers cut pieces of metal with hand metal snips or shears. These tools slowly cut through the sheet, producing two adjacent sharp edges. Experts recommend folding one cut edge away from the area as work progresses, in order to prevent that second edge from contacting the skin and cutting the worker.
2. Power cutting and the eyes
Another workplace risk involved in cutting sheet metal is the vulnerability of the eyes to sharp pieces when workers are using a power machine to cut sheets. Always wear protective glasses or goggles when using power apartment to cut sheet metal.
3. Loose clothing
In many cases, wearing loose clothing or equipment can be dangerous when sheet metal is lying around. Items can get caught on the corners or sides of these sharp-edged materials and end up leading to contact that can lacerate a worker.
4. Particulate Matter
Another concern with power cutting is any debris or dust that the power cutting tool can generate, or any that just exists around the work area. In some cases, sheet metal workers should wear respirator masks when cutting sheet metal.
5. Heavy sheets
Excessively heavy sheets of sheet metal can also lead to lacerations if a worker drops a piece of the product. Jobs should always involve careful thought on how to limit the weight of individual pieces, not only to avoid these kinds of injuries, but also to protect workers from lower back strain or other kinds of chronic injuries related to handling heavy items.
6. Moving sheet metal
When sheet metal is being used in a residential or commercial installation, putting it in place may involve getting into some tough locations and using strategy for positioning this material correctly. Workers should be trained in how to introduce pieces of sheet metal to small or irregular spaces, so that these kinds of specialized tasks don’t end up being more dangerous than they need to be. Job supervisors should evaluate all of the challenges in getting a cut piece of sheet-metal into the proper location for an HVAC or other kind of application.
It’s important to think ahead on these kinds of projects to minimize risk and help all of those on a work crew avoid some significant injuries.