SAFETY FOCUS: Observing Safe Lifting Practices for In-Place Machining

Portable is a word used to describe machine tools where the machine is taken to (and mounted on) the workpiece, as opposed to the workpiece being mounted into a stationary-based mill or  lathe. Portable is a relative term however. When looking at the weight that a typical worker can lift and handle safely, many pieces of equipment (especially machines designed for 12 inch
pipe or larger) can often exceed that weight.

Accordingly, rings and support stands are provided on some machines to permit safe lifting. When the machine weight is carried by the pipe for example, the rigidity and support provided by tie-offs and blocking factors into whether the conditions to machine in-place are safe.

Safe lift practices can include weights set by supervisors or site safety guidelines that regulate weight limits for personnel. Work place factors such a slippery floor, icy or
wet ground, space limitations, scaffolding and overhead structures that could affect safe lifting of equipment.

Other specific factors such as machine that is oily, has cutting chips in, on or around it, is not disconnected from air, hydraulic or electrical lines can be a danger. Safety
hazards could result if a machine is not separated into smaller, manageable sections.

Lastly, when provisions for safe lifting are included in the features of the machine but are not properly utilized accidents can happen. A good example is the red framelocking tab on the rotating ring of RBL and RBL-G2 lathes.

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