About 10 percent of all reported amputations occur among power press operators. Although this statistic sounds scary, your business needs a hydraulic press.

Hydraulic presses are far from a toy and should be treated maturely. To keep you and your employees safe while using a hydraulic press, follow these seven safety tips:

1. Understand How Hydraulic Presses Work

The most important safety tip when it comes to hydraulic presses is to first understand how they work. There are different types of presses, but all can be researched to figure out the proper use. Some of the different types of presses include:

  • H Frame presses
  • C Frame presses
  • Arbor presses
  • Press brakes
  • Custom presses

These big machines are used to compress objects, hence the name. But, they can also do other tasks such as cutting, punching, drilling, straightening, and molding. These tasks all involve transforming pieces of metal.

Although these machines make work easier and more efficient, they are very dangerous. Because they are powerful and have a lot of parts, you need to understand hydraulic presses to work with them safely.

2. Use Protective Equipment

There is proper protective equipment that is always necessary when using a hydraulic press. This equipment includes eye protection and proper footwear. Some jobs may even require you to use other equipment, such as:

  • Gloves
  • Face masks
  • Welding mask
  • Hearing protection
  • Clothing protection

3. Inspection

Every time you use a hydraulic press it needs to be thoroughly inspected, this includes the space for presses. During an inspection, look for any visible damage on the structure, check for leaks or signs of them, check hoses, fluids for dirt, and any cracks that may have occurred.

If you spot any of these things during the inspection, don’t start a job until maintenance has happened. To prevent failure and keep safety a top priority, get preventative machine maintenance done regularly. These high-pressure machines will be put to heavy use and in turn, make the parts dirty and in need of replacement.

Once the machine is running, listen for excessive vibrations and any other strange noises that could occur. These sounds could indicate a need for repair immediately.

4. Find All of the Buttons

Getting to know the machine is an absolute must if you want to continuously use it safely. The buttons you will want to know how to locate by heart are the on/off switch and the emergency stop button.

If an incident occurs that requires the machine to be turned off right away, you don’t want to waste time looking for the button. Know where these buttons are and understand how they work. This means knowing how quickly they can turn the machine on and off.

5. Keep Your Body-Safe

This may be a no brainer safety tip when it comes to hydraulic presses, but even messing around could cause real damage. This machine is not for fun and games.

Before the machine is turned on, make sure your hands and other body parts are out of the way. Not only do you need to look out for yourself, but for the people who may be around you.

The press lowering onto a body part could cause serious injury and should not be taken lightly. Make sure the floor surrounding the machine is clean in case someone happens to slip right as the press is coming down.

To ensure that your system is failsafe and can protect your body, it should include certain things, such as automatic locking, infinite position locking, and design simplicity.

Automatic locking works to lock the machine when pressure is released unexpectedly or there is a power failure. When the ram is coming down, it can be locked if you have infinite position locking. You will want the machine to have a simple design because it creates a lower risk for errors.

6. Handle Materials Safely

The materials used for hydraulic presses can be just as dangerous as the machine itself. To be safe around the machine, you must also handle the materials safely.

These potentially heavy materials will often have sharp edges that could be very damaging if not handled with care. When using sharp materials, be sure to wear the proper gear such as gloves.

Practice safe handling practices anytime you are around the machine. This includes safely putting the materials into the press by safely positioning them.

7. Be Wary of Accidents

For accidents to be prevented, you need to be conscious about the possibility of them happening. Familiarize yourself with the most common hydraulic press issues so that there is a lesser chance it happens to you.

The most common hydraulic press accidents involve hands and fingers because you are feeding the machine something. It’s common for pinching and crushing to happen to a body part if you are not careful.

Using this machine is so high risk that about 49 percent of hydraulic press accidents result in amputation. Be wary of this possibility and ensure it does not happen by caring and operating the machine properly. Focus on the preparation to make sure no steps are missed.

Some of the most common hydraulic press issues are:

  • Pressure failure
  • Detached hoses
  • Cracked or loose fittings
  • Fractured metal
  • Flying metal due to high pressure
  • Press brakes

Along with amputation, other injuries are possible. These injuries include lacerations and puncture wounds from metal or hydraulic pressurized fluids.

Safety First!

Hydraulic presses can be intimidating, but essential tools for certain businesses. As long as you are keeping safety tips in mind while using these machines, you can avoid injuries and make the day more efficient.

For more information about hydraulic presses, contact Rygate LLC today!