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Workplace health and safety in sheet metal fabrication

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article image If OHS procedures are not followed, sheet metal/plate rolling machines can be very dangerous
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Sheet metal/plate rolling machines can be very dangerous. A common accident is operators' hands getting caught in the counter-rotating rollers, during the initial feeding of the work piece.  

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland points out that, to minimise these serious accidents, metal fabricators need to incorporate a number of OHS measures in their operations.

These measures include:

Safety devices

Safety devices such as emergency stops, hold-to-run controls, trip devices, and emergency stops help protect employees.

They won’t prevent accidents but they will ensure that, when an accident does occur, the metal fabrication machinery can be stopped as quickly as possible and injuries can be minimised.

Instruction and training

Operators need to be intimately familiarised with all controls, guards and safety devices. They need to be aware of likely hazards and all control measures.


Supervision must be provided. The level should be determined by the competence and experience of the operator, as well as the complexity of the task being performed.

Inspection and maintenance

Inspection and maintenance of the machine, including guards and other critical safety parts, must be done regularly (e.g. daily). It needs to be done by a designated individual.

Safe work procedures

These should be written to cover inspection and maintenance, cleaning, safe operation of the machine, emergency situations, reporting faults and defects immediately.

Operator attire

When it comes to sheet metal/plate rolling machines, the use of gloves with fingertips and the wearing of loose fitting clothes are prohibited.

Maintenance of the surrounding areas

The metal fabrication space should be well illuminated. There should be no objects or substances that may cause slips, trips and falls.

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