Ensuring an operator’s safety when using a power press for stamping or forging
Many different types of power presses are used throughout industry and a number of hazards are associated with their use. A trapping hazard occurs with the opening or closing of the ram or between the dies whilst the ram is in motion. Contact with ejected, flying, hot or sharp materials may cause injuries.
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require that fixed guards are provided or if this is not practicable, an interlocked or ‘approved’ guard be placed in position.
In this case a metal fabrication company used a machine for hot stamping and forging in the production of garden tools. A fixed outer enclosure was placed around the machine and an air operated interlocking guarding system installed where operator access was required. Using tongs and before the hot ingots can be placed in the dies, the operator activates the guard by foot pedal. Until the guard doors are closed and the normally closed electric interlock operated on a linear cam receives a positive contact the ram will not begin the operation. The front guard was made of clear view solid polycarbonate which stops sparks from reaching the operator as well as providing unrestricted vision of the process.
Hierarchy of Controls:
- This has given greater protection to the operator while not interfering with production.