3 Common Hazards Associated with Metal Laser Cutting and How to Mitigate Them
The use of laser technology in the cutting of metals is quite common in today's industrial world, and it's not difficult to see why. Laser cutting is a fast, precise, accurate and efficient method of cutting metal, which is why it's often regarded as the gold standard. But like other metal cutting machines, lasers pose various hazards to workers.
Continue reading to familiarise yourself with some of the common hazards associated with the use of metal laser cutters and ways to control them.
Metal laser cutters produce an invisible laser light that is harmful to both your eyes and skin. Make sure you provide your workers with the appropriate safety glasses to protect their eyes from the problematic light. Your workers should also wear protective clothing to prevent the laser light from coming into contact with their skin.
Keep in mind that the skin is at the greatest risk of exposure to laser radiation, as it is the largest organ of the body. Make sure your workers cover up fully.
Laser cutting of metals is a thermal process that not only generates a lot of heat but also releases toxic fumes and gases into the work environment. The concentration of toxic elements in the air will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of metal being cut and how well the cutting machines are maintained.
To minimise air contamination during cutting operations, it's important to ensure your laser cutters are properly cleaned before use. This is because any clutter from previously cut materials can increase the toxicity levels in the air.
Make sure you install a fume exhaust system that is fully fitted with an air filter to help reduce air contamination. The air filter should be replaced as per the exhaust system manufacturer's instructions.
Laser cutting is generally not recommended for materials that burn easily. The high power of the laser beam can produce high temperatures that can result in the combustion of certain materials, resulting in a fire incident.
In addition to ensuring all clutter from the previous use of metal laser cutters, you should never leave the machines to operate unsupervised. Also, make sure the person that you put in charge of supervising cutting operations is fully trained in properly containing any fire that may start in the workplace.
If you're not trained and certified in undertaking metal laser cutting operations, it's wise to leave the job to the experts. Safety should be your number one priority, always.
For more information, reach out to a metal laser cutting service in your area.