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No matter how long you have had your press brake for, how often you use it, or if you have had relevant safeguarding before, it is vital that you are kept aware of the dangers press brakes can cause. Accidents and injuries in the workplace are often the result of these machines, but there are now a number of safeguarding practices and devices available to keep operators safe, as well as productive.

First and foremost, training should be compulsory before anyone is to work near the press brake, and refresher training should be conducted regularly. By emphasising safe operating procedures, explaining equipment limitations, showing hazard recognition, describing the use of guards and encouraging reporting of dangers, your employees will feel considerably safer around this machinery.

The basic protection options for safeguarding a press brake are as follows:

  • A fixed and interlocked barrier guard with two-hand controls
  • Pull-backs and restraints
  • The two-hand down/foot-through device

However, there are also some technological products that can help reduce the risks of danger when it comes to operating a press brake.

Electrosensitive protection technology, also known as Active Opto-electronic Protective device (AOPD), is an advanced safeguarding practice and the most commonly known device used is the light curtain. This is a photoelectric, presence-sensing device that creates a ‘curtain’ with beams of infrared light; whenever there is an obstruction or someone reaches through this curtain, the press will stop and it won’t start again until the obstruction is removed.

By using this equipment together with other safeguarding techniques and knowledge, you can guarantee that the risk factor will decrease.

Always remember the essential guidelines for keeping safe when using a press brake:

  • Keep your work area clear and clean
  • Wear protective equipment and never wear anything loose
  • Never leave the press brake unattended
  • Keep your hands away from moving mechanisms
  • Avoid trip hazards

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