In woodworking, a drill press is commonly used to make holes in objects. Handheld tools can also be used for this purpose but when it comes to mass production where speed and accuracy take priority, a drill press proves useful.
Tools and extensions are available for use which workers can modify the drill press for other various uses like grinding and sanding. This makes them more versatile and functional.
It is essential that such instruments are equipped with necessary safeguards as well as shutoff switches to provide workers with some amount of protection. Besides getting an arm or a hand caught in the moving parts, it is also likely that clothes can get entangled in it, which can then pull in a limb into the machine resulting in grievous injury.
Essential Safety Tips
There is no doubt that power drills that are portable are considered extremely useful tools in the business of construction. However, the lack of adequate safety training can turn them into an extremely hazardous risk.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has released a study which indicates that over 2,500 people are treated at hospitals annually for injuries caused by a drill press. Occupational Saftey Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers train employees in safe handling and proper maintenance of power drills in an attempt to avoid injuries.
Here are some ways in which workers can safeguard themselves:
- Ensure not to wear long or loose clothing that can get entangled in the machine.
- Tie back long hair to prevent it from getting caught in the drill press or the material you are working with. A hefty number of accidents have been caused as a result of hair suddenly getting caught in the machine. The situation was aggravated due to the lack of an appropriate shutoff mechanism to switch off the machine the moment a problem of this magnitude surfaced.
- Do not use gloves when handling a drill press. Gloves can get caught in the machine and pull in the worker’s hand leading to grievous injury.
- Clamp down the material to secure it before the drill press is started. Inability to do this can lead the material to spin or propel. This can injure the worker or anyone else nearby.
Watch YouTube Video – Safety Video: Drill Press. This video shows basic safety tips on how to use the drill press.
Tips to Avoid Electric Shocks
- Check for any exposed wires, breaks, a plug, or housing connection that might be loose. There has to be a ground wire without the third prong being cut off except when it is a double insulated drill.
- Utilize three-prong adapters.
- Electric tools are not to be used in wet or damp spots except when they are approved for this kind of use.
- Be sure to use extension cords without any taps, splices, bare wires, deteriorated, or frayed insulation.
- Do not carry any device by its cord.
- Ensure that the rating of the electrical circuit intended for use has the required rating. Also make sure that all plugs, fittings, and cords are secure and intact.
- Utilize double-insulated implements.
- Do not disconnect from the holder by yanking the cord.
- Ensure that cords do not come into contact with oil, sharp edges, and heat; not even the cutting surface of a drill or power saw.
Best Practices for Working with Drill Presses
Follow the correct procedure when using a drill press. Hold the material to be worked on firmly in order to prevent it from flying off or spinning away from the table to hit you. Using a vise or clamps to hold the workpiece in place is a prudent idea. This can be especially useful when working with smaller pieces.
Use Accessories Appropriate to the Job
Choose the drill chuck best suited for the piece. The 0 or ½ inch is suitable for most functions but you should check to be sure. If the drill press needs adjustment, ensure that it is switched off.
Take Operational Precautions
The table will have to be adjusted to ensure that the hole at its center is exactly under the drill. The depth has to be set correctly on the drill press to prevent drilling through the table. Keeping a piece of wood below the workpiece can stop this from occurring.
Do not use an extremely high spindle speed and instead stick to the suggested speed for the drill. If you are not certain on what speed to use, choose the lower speed. Using the drill at a high-speed in situations that do not warrant it can cause the cutting tool or the workpiece to burn.
It can also cause the workpiece to hurtle off the worktop and hit you or a bystander. Similarly, using an extremely low speed can lead the device to burrow into the workpiece and damage the edges or initiate the motor. Be sure to turn the power off while changing speeds on the drill press.
Other Best Practices for Drilling
If drilling in depth, pull out the bit often to remove chips from the hole. This can prevent the drill from breaking, flying out, or wearing down. In case the drill gets stuck in the hollow, you should switch off the device before pulling out the bit. Ensure that the work table, workpiece, and accessories are regularly cleaned with a brush to eliminate chips and sawdust. Do the cleaning only after the power is turned off and you have disconnected the drill.
If you face any issues with the drill press, don’t use it until the matter is fixed. Seek help for repair and be sure to replace accessories as required.
Drill Press Defects Increase the Risk of Severe Injury
Some of the common faults seen in a drill press are shutoff switches that have been poorly designed and flawed safety guards. Workers must be able to shut off the drill immediately if an injury happens. Some drill presses have shut off switches that malfunction or are situated in spots that cannot be accessed quickly.
Another design flaw seen often is the inability of the safety guard to keep the worker’s hands protected. This puts their hands and fingers in danger.
The inability to caution workers about the risks and dangers of a tool can qualify as negligence. Sometimes, manufacturers do not give sufficient warning or the right type of information that can help workers prevent accidents or halt the device quickly enough to prevent an injury.
Legal Requirement for Employee Training
Safety training is one of the key requirements under Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPPs), which are mandated under Cal/OSHA. The training must also cover contractors and temporary workers who will work at a job site. Employers may hire external consultants for safety training to carry out the necessary worker training programs.
Supervisors require training related to the hazards that the employees may be exposed to, ways to identify the hazards, and the procedures, practices, and rules for managing risk exposure. Supervisors must also be trained in how this information should be communicated to the workers and how it may be ensured that the workers follow the procedures safely. For more information, click here.
Drill Press Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a drill press accident lawyer in Sacramento. Machines with moving parts like drill presses can result in serious injuries. If you or a family member has been injured in a drill press accident, call me at 916-584-9355 for a free consultation.
I’ve been helping clients throughout Northern California with personal injury and wrongful death cases for the past 36 years. My team and I have the experience to review your case and help you seek full compensation for your injuries.
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