DIY How To

Working With Sheet Metal Safely

Sheet metal is essential for the construction of many everyday objects and is used in the manufacture of car bodies, medical tables, airplane wings, heating components, and various architectural aspects. Sheet metal is formed by an industrial process into thin, flat strips or coils and can be transformed into a variety of different shapes.

Thicker pieces of sheet metal are known as 'plates', while very thin pieces are called 'leaf' or 'foil'. Working with sheet metal carries its own set of risks and it is essential that you are familiar with the safety requirements before you get involved.

Working Safely with Sheet Metal

Protective Gear
It may seem obvious, but the importance of wearing the right protective clothing cannot be stressed enough. If you are involved in the cutting or fabrication of sheet metal, protective goggles must be worn because dust and flying pieces of metal will be generated in the process. Sheet metal often comes with very sharp edges so invest in some coveralls and a strong pair of protective gloves.

The gloves will also ensure that you keep a good grip on the tools you're using. When working with sheet metal, heavy machinery is often used and this means that baggy clothing, long hair and jewellery should be secured or tucked away in ensure that it doesn't become caught in moving machinery.

Training
Do not attempt to work with sheet metal until you have received the appropriate training. If you work in the construction, custom metal manufacturing or HVAC installation and maintenance industries, the machinery used to cut and shape sheet metal is specialized and potentially very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Your employer should make sure that you are up to date with all safety procedures before allowing you to begin work.

There will be a specific protocol that must be followed to reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring and guidance on what to do if an accident does happen. If you are involved in the purchasing of specialist equipment for working with sheet metal, always choose a reputable manufacturer like Clarence Jones. Never cut corners or sacrifice quality when it comes to investing in industrial equipment because this can seriously impact on the safety of staff if your machinery is below standard.

Storage
Tools, machinery and sheet metal materials must be correctly stored to prevent accidents from occurring. If you are storing heavy items, the container must be able to take their weight. Work surfaces must stay as clean as possible to avoid injury resulting from contact with sharp scraps of metal.

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