Safety Hazards Associated with the Use of CNC Laser Cutters and How to Control Them

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Safety Hazards Associated with the Use of CNC Laser Cutters and How to Control Them

17 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog

CNC laser cutting is one of the most advanced methods of cutting materials. It involves cutting through wood, metal, concrete, plastics and other materials using a laser beam that is controlled using a computer. While cutting materials with laser light is highly efficient, the process can be dangerous if operators ignore safety requirements. If you intend to start using CNC laser cutters for your materials cutting applications, here is a look at some inherent safety hazards you should be aware of, and what you can do to keep them under control. 

Laser radiation 

The powerful laser beam that makes it possible to cut through materials with accuracy and relative ease can cause eye damage because it has a high magnifying power. If the naked eye is left to focus on the beam, it can result in a blind spot. Therefore, it is important to avoid staring into the beam without putting on protective eyewear.

It is not just the eyes that may become damaged, the skin too can be harmed when exposed to laser beams. Therefore, machinists should wear full-length clothing to prevent potential skin damage. 

While laser light is characteristically seen as blue light, the beam may reflect invisible light in the working environment, so machine operators should make sure to protect their eyes and skin at all times.

Electrical dangers

Any machine or equipment that runs on electricity has the potential to cause an electrical hazard. CNC laser cutters have large electrical power requirements, increasing the risk of severe consequences should problems crop up in the electrical system. Machinists and those working around the equipment are the usual victims. They run the risk of getting electrocuted if any safety risks are not eliminated. Electrical faults can also start a fire, which can harm workers and cause extensive damage to property. 

The most effective way to cushion against electrical dangers is to ensuring laser equipment is maintained as per manufacturer specifications, and that workers operating the electrical equipment know what to do to ensure safe operation. 

Burning work pieces

Different heat intensities are required to cut different materials. The tougher the material, the greater the intensity of heat required to cut through it. When using laser cutters, it is important to use just the right amount of heat. Otherwise, the material can burn and cause a fire accident at the workstation.  

Typically, a little smoke will be produced when you are cutting material with a laser beam. But if there is too much smoke, chances are high that a fire will start. Like it is commonly said, there's no smoke without fire! Therefore, those operating laser cutting machines should make sure they do not use beams that are too powerful for the materials they are working on.