July 2002

Working safely with metal | Essentials

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Working safely with metal

by Peter Greenbaum
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Safety awareness and practices are as critical in shops as they are on rooftops—especially when it comes to forming, transporting and installing metal used for roof system installations.

In a sheet-metal shop, for example, tools and equipment, such as power shears, press brakes and mechanical presses, band and circular saws, lathes, and drilling and milling machines, are used to form and cut metal. Because a moving machine part can grab clothing and pull in and severely injure workers' limbs, safeguarding these types of machines and training workers about safety procedures are crucial.

Following the rules

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) General Industry standard 29 CFR 1910.217, employers must provide and ensure the use of point-of-operation guards on machines that rotate, reciprocate, transverse, cut, punch, shear or bend. In addition, powered equipment never should be started unless all point-of-operation guards are in place. Guards prevent hands or fingers from reaching through, over, around or under them. If workers need to repair or clean equipment, they should shut off a machine's power before removing point-of-operation guards. Before reactivating equipment, workers...

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