Plasma Cutting Hazards: Things to Consider & What to Do

While working with plasma cutting machines can make your workplace more efficient and productive, they are not without dangers.

Providing huge amounts of power, these high-speed tools can be as hot as the surface of the sun when they are on full blast. Not to mention the toxic fumes that they emit so that they are able to deliver the cutting quality you expect.

So, how can you ensure the safety of yourself and your team when you are using your plasma cutting machines?

Keep reading to find out the common hazards of using CNC plasma cutting machines. Plus, our top tips on how to use these innovative tools safely.

working with plasma cutting machines can make your workplace more efficient and productive, they are not without dangers.

Physical Hazards

Raw Heat

As you would expect from a machine that can cut through stainless steel like butter, a CNC plasma cutter exposes you to raw heat that can rival the temperatures found on the surface of the sun.

High Voltage

Anything that uses electricity carries the risk of electrocution, so you need to make sure you are taking the necessary safety precautions to ensure the protection of your employees from the high voltages involved in plasma cutting.

Fire Hazards

Due to the high temperatures involved in plasma arc cutting, there is always going to be a risk of fire. Fortunately, if you follow safety protocols and ensure your staff are properly trained, the risk of fire is minimal.

Vision Damage

A plasma torch gives off a bright flash when in use which can cause irreversible damage to the eyes. Known as arc eye, you can prevent this by ensuring everyone wears the appropriate protective eyewear.

Plasma Cutting Hazards: Things to Consider  & What to Do

Long Term Dangers

As well as immediate threats, there are also several long-term health hazards that can occur if you do not take the proper precautions. This includes:

Respiratory Problems

When you cut metal with a plasma cutter, metal dust and other dangerous fumes and gases are circulated in the air. What can be particularly problematic is if you are cutting coated metals as some of these contain hexavalent chromium, which can lead to serious respiratory problems and even cancer. Respiratory problems will vary from person to person.

Metal Fume Fever

Cutting metals such as copper, nickel, and zinc can all make you more susceptible to metal fume fever. This condition, which has similar symptoms to the flu, is more likely to occur when welding but can also occur during plasma cutting.

Our Top Tips for Using Plasma Cutting Machines Safely

If you want to ensure you and your staff stay safe, you need to take note of the potential hazards and then ensure you follow our top tips:

  • Only use quality equipment. This includes a high-quality plasma cutter and CNC plasma tables.
  • Always wear the proper safety gear, including fire-resistant balaclavas, safety cutting glasses, and cut-resistant welding gloves.
  • Maintain OSHA standards.
  • Ensure you have good grounding and that the cutting area is away from water.
  • Regularly check your gas regulators
  • At all times, keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Ensure all your team undergoes thorough training before using a plasma cutter.

If you can follow all this and be aware of the dangers, safety will always be a top priority.

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