Working with sheet metal can be fun and challenging, but it also includes a lot of potential dangers. To reduce your risk of getting hurt, check out these tips. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced sheet metal worker, these tips should help.
1. Wear Full Safety Gear
The edges of sheet metal can seriously cut and knick your hands as you are working with it. To protect your skin, wear heavy-duty work gloves.
Also, consider wearing long-sleeved coveralls to protect the rest of your body, and most importantly, put on a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying shards. Finally, a respirator or dust mask also ensures that you won't breathe in any small metal particles.
2. Be Aware of Conductivity
Sheet metal is a conductor, and as a result, you need to be aware of surrounding temperatures and their potential impact on the sheet metal. If you have the sheet metal stored near a fire or if it's outside, you should be aware that it may have changed temperatures.
To reduce the risk of burns or frostbite, store the sheetmetal in a spot with relatively even temperatures, and when that's not possible, always check the temperature with a quick finger tap before grabbing the sheet metal with bare hands.
3. Remember Welding Safety
If you are welding the sheet metal, stay abreast of common welding safety guidelines. Make sure you have adequate ventilation for fumes — work outdoors or open your garage door or workshop windows.
Move flammables away from your work area or surround the workspace with a fireproof welding curtain. Have fire extinguishers, blankets and other safety materials within close reach as well.
4. Use Clean Metal
When metal is rusty, it may contain all manner of bacteria and germs. To avoid those risks, always work with clean sheet metal, purchased directly from a reputable supplier. If you have to work with old repurposed sheet metal, make sure that you have an up-to-date tetanus shot, and be especially vigilant about wearing work gloves.
5. Maintain Tools
Whether you're working with handtools or power tools such as grinders, make sure that the tools are well maintained. Blunt hand tools make you struggle against the metal, potentially causing injuries. It's also important to keep blades sharp on power tools and ensure that the cords aren't fraying.
Alternatively, keep yourself extremely safe by outsourcing your sheet metal work to the pros. Contact a professional sheetmetal worker for more details.