“It is OK honey; I know what I’m doing.”
This is something you might tell your family, yourself, and even your boss when you are working with heavy machinery. But you’d be wrong. Operating shop equipment can be dangerous and it’s important you use the recommended best practices.
The guys at OSHA are there for a reason. They show you how to be safe when operating shop equipment like a drill press. And those best safety practices are established because accidents do happen. You have to protect yourself and those around you when working with shop equipment.
This type of equipment can be a great tool for shop work but you must take precautionary measures when operating a drill press. And because it is important we’ve decided to list 14 top precautionary measures that are essential when operating a drill press.
1. Understand It before You Start
We understand how tempting it can be to just get started. A drill press is a fun machine to use. That doesn’t mean “learn as you go.” This is a professional shop machine and you need to know how to use it before use it. Know your drill press. Inspect the machine before use, read the owner’s manual, and find someone who has already use that machine. If it’s a new drill press, be sure to find as much information about safe use as possible. Understand the specific potential hazards that this particular machine could have.
2. Safety Goggles are there for a Reason
Some people assume that using safety goggles for a simple job seems to be something a little too precautionary. However, doctors will testify that it even the simplest job or bore without the use of safety wear like goggles that can cause facial damage or irreversible eye problems. Even for the smallest of jobs, it is important that you wear goggles.
3. Initial Inspection
Sometimes it’s the little things that can cause an accident. Quick inspections before using the drill press and save you a lot of time and headaches. Make sure that you remove the chuck key from the chart before you power on the drill. Of course, you can save time and problems by using the self-ejecting chuck key. You also want to avoid accidental starts by making sure that use which the drill press to the off position before plugging or unplugging the electrical cord. And when making repairs… Make sure you disconnect the drill from the power source.
4. Use Appropriate Accessories
When you use a drill press be sure that you use accessories made for that particular model. Never use a hand auger bit for a drill press. Make sure you only use bits and drills that are designed for the model and make of the drill press you are using. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual for the recommended parts and accessories. Using other parts and accessories can present a hazard for that particular drill press.
5. Use Best Practices
Use your best practices when working with a drill press. Make sure you hold the workpiece firmly so that it doesn’t spin or fly off the table and hit you. If possible fasten the workpiece with clamps or a vise. This is especially a good idea when the pieces you’re working with are smaller.
6. Proper Clothing
Make sure things are rightfully in their place; for example, you want to keep the guard on the spindle pulley to prevent error clothing from getting caught. When working with the drill press, avoid using those clothing, gloves, or jewelry. If your hair is longer make sure that you use a hair net.
7. Use the Proper Accessories for the Proper Job
Use the proper drill chuck for the job you’re working on. Most operations can work with the 0 or half-inch drill chuck. But check to make sure. If you do need to adjust the drill press, make sure that it’s powered off.
8. Operational Precautions
You want to adjust the table so that the hole in the table center is directly beneath the drill. You also want to let the depth correctly on the drill press and thereby avoid drilling into the table. As a precautionary measure, you might want to place a piece of wood underneath the workpiece to prevent this from happening.
Avoid using too high a spindle speed and stay close to the recommended speeds for that particular drill. When in doubt, just stick to a slower speed. A wrong application of a high-speed can burn the cutting tool or even the workpiece. In may even make the workpiece fly off the table and hit you or someone standing nearby. By the same token, to slower speed with a heavy feed may cause the tool to dig into the workpiece and start the motor or break the edges. When changing your speed, just make sure you power off the drill press.
9. Pay Attention to Drilling Best Practices
When drilling deep, raise the bit frequently and clean chips out of the hole. This will keep the drill from wearing down, breaking, or flying out. If the drill does become stuck in the hole, turn off the machine before you raise the bit. Make sure you use a brush to keep the table, accessories, and workpiece constantly clean. Before cleaning be sure to power off and disconnect from the electrical outlet. Use a brush to clean off chips and sawdust.
Avoid using a drill press when there are issues. Problems won’t fix themselves so make sure that you inform someone or have accessories replaced when needed. Never run a drill press that has repair issues.
When operating the machine you should always expect something to go wrong. This means you need to buy extra material so that any mistake you make can be redone.
11. Avoid Health Hazards
When drilling large amounts of work be sure to use respiratory protection masks. By the same token when you use sanding drums or abrasive accessories make sure you use these work masks but also be sure that the area is well ventilated.
12. Listen to the Machine
A machine will tell you when something is wrong; you just have to listen to the way it works. When there is a mechanical problem the operation will sound differently. This is when you should call in a specialist to inspect the machine.
13. Stay Calm
Most health professionals and OSHA representatives will tell you that many accidents happen because operators got nervous. Never! Never try to stop the machine by grabbing the chuck, even when the machine is powered off. Not run the tool when you’re not attending it. When you finish a project, turn off the power and remain in place until the chuck comes to a complete stop.
14. Child Proof your drill press
If your drill press is located in your home or another area where children frequent. You must kid-proof the machine. The best way to do this is to position the key to the off position and remove the switch toggle. This way, children cannot turn on the drill press.