Well-trained people are safe people

CNC machines can be dangerous enough to run when the people working with them are well trained. But when people having limited knowledge of a machine are assigned to work with it… Well the results can be disastrous.

Consider just a few of the countless mistakes that can lead to disaster:


• Mistakes in process

• Mistakes in positioning motions

• Mistakes with cutting conditions

• Mistakes with spindle direction

• Mistakes with M codes


• Mistakes with the workholding setup

• Mistakes with program zero assignment

• Mistakes with cutting tool assembly

• Mistakes with offset measurement and entry

• Mistakes with cutting tool placement in the machine

• Mistakes during program verification

• Calling up the wrong program

Running production:

• Mistakes with workpiece loading

• Mistakes when making offset sizing adjustments

• Mistakes measuring workpieces

• Forgetting to debur workpieces

• Mistakes with dull tool replacement

• Mistakes re-running tools

If you think about it for any length of time, you’ll surely be able to come up with many more potential mistakes that could have terrible safety-related consequences. And again, well trained people have enough problems minimizing these mistakes – or finding them before they have disastrous results.

Poorly trained people are very likely to make them – and not find them.

I’m amazed by how many companies assign newcomers (having little or no prior training) with duties that could result in personal injury. I have seen, for example, people person transferred from light assembly (where they are in little or no danger) to an area where they’ll be running CNC machines. So – one day they’re assembling components and the next they’re running a CNC machine.

Often they don’t even recognize the safety-related implications of the transfer.

As managers, we must do our utmost to ensure that we responsibly assign duties to the appropriate people. If people don’t currently possess the skills needed to safely perform their duties, it is your responsibility to bring them to a level at which they can. Frankly speaking, anything less is irresponsible.

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