Metalworking guillotines

Metalworking guillotines operate by a clamp securing the sheet of material. Similar to the action of scissors, the blade shears the material, starting at one side of the sheet.

Usually, the cut off piece will fall on to a metal ramp beneath the blade, and slide down the ramp to where it can be recovered.

Guillotines can have mechanical, hydraulic,  or pneumatic  prime movers.  Small guillotines may be operator-powered by a pedal or handle. The small force provided by the operator is increased to provide much larger force at the blade.

In mechanical guillotines, energy to drive the tool is stored in a revolving flywheel. In hydraulic guillotines, energy for the tool comes from pressure in a hydraulic ram.

In pneumatic guillotines, compressed air replaces hydraulic fluid.

Figure 1: Hydraulic guillotine

[Image] Hydraulic guillotine with labels and red arrows pointing to key components

Hazards

  • Sheet metal
  • Contact with clamp and blade
  • Falling items
  • Moving parts
  • Viewing slots
  • Noise
  • Leaking hydraulic oil
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Faulty/altered machinery (maintenance & cleaning)

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Ear protection
  • Eye protection
  • Hand protection

Tasks

Task – Load & unload/collect cut-offs

Hazard

Sheet metal

Risk

  • Deep cuts
  • Muscle strains

Controls

  • Wear protective gloves.
  • Use mechanical aids to lift materials, when necessary.

Hazard

Contact with clamp and blade

Risk

  • Deep cuts or amputation
  • Crushing injuries

Controls

  • Fix guards to isolate the point of closure at the clamp and blade.
  • Use interlocked guards to avoid entanglement.
  • Off-cuts must have a collection point that does not involve reaching into the back of the guillotine.
  • Ensure clamp and blade are interlocked against faults (for full revolution type guillotines).

Hazard

Falling items

Risk

  • Bruising

Controls

  • Fix guards to isolate the point of closure at the clamp and blade.
  • Use interlocked guards to avoid entanglement.
  • Off-cuts must have a collection point that does not involve reaching into the back of the guillotine.
  • Ensure clamp and blade are interlocked against faults (for full revolution type guillotines).

Task – Guide & control the cut

Hazard

Moving parts

Risk

  • Deep cuts or amputation

Controls

  • Fix guards to prevent reach to moving parts and hands from reaching beneath clamps or blades.
  • Cover pedals to minimise the chance of an unintentional start.
  • Never wear loose clothing or jewellery.
  • Fit presence sensing devices. If guillotines fail, they must stop safely, and not restart until the fault is repaired.
  • Ensure regular testing of the presence sensing system.

Hazard

Viewing slots

Risk

  • Deep cuts or amputation

Controls

  • Fix guards to prevent reach to moving parts and hands from reaching beneath clamps or blades.
  • Cover pedals to minimise the chance of an unintentional start.
  • Never wear loose clothing or jewellery.
  • Fit presence sensing devices. If guillotines fail, they must stop safely, and not restart until the fault is repaired.
  • Ensure regular testing of the presence sensing system.
  • Ensure viewing slots are small enough to prevent reach.

Other (non-mechanical) hazards

Hazard

Noise

Risk

  • Hearing damage or loss

Controls

  • Reduce noise levels by isolating machines or enclosing within noise barriers.
  • Assess noise levels.
  • Arrange hearing screenings.
  • Always wear hearing protection.

A safe noise level over an eight hour day is 85dB(A). A metalworking guillotine may exceed this noise intensity.

Hazard

Leaking hydraulic oil

Risk

  • Skin irritation
  • Hand pain
  • Tissue and muscle damage
  • Puncture wounds

Controls

  • Apply a programme of preventative maintenance (hydraulic hoses and hydraulic hose couplings).
  • Leaking oil, or bulging or scraped hose walls, must have faulty parts replaced.
  •  Never use hands and fingers to detect leaks.
  • If oil seeps onto skin, or someone working near hydraulic oil under pressure thinks they were bitten by an insect, they must be taken to hospital, with full information presented to medical staff.
  • Wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment).

Hydraulic oil under pressure will get into skin, even through leather gloves.

Hazard

Slips, trips & falls

Risk

  • Contact or impact injuries
  • Cuts

Controls

  • Ensure housekeeping procedures are in place.
  • Wear suitable footwear.
  • Provide non-slip mats and suitable flooring.

Task – Maintenance, cleaning & repairs

Hazard

Contact, impact or entanglement from moving parts

Risk

  • Cuts
  • Bruising
  • Fractures

Controls

  • Lock-out all power supplies before maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
  • Provide adequate support for parts that may fall and cause injury.
  • Keep written safety procedures, and arrange regular inspections by a competent person.
  • Remove or Lock-out guillotines that fail inspection, and do not use until repaired or replaced.
  • When a guillotine is altered, a new risk assessment must be done, and safety improvements made.

Hazard

Faulty or altered machinery

Risk

  • Cuts
  • Bruising
  • Fractures

Controls

  • Lock-out all power supplies before maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
  • Provide adequate support for parts that may fall and cause injury.
  • Keep written safety procedures, and arrange regular inspections by a competent person.
  • Remove or Lock-out guillotines that fail inspection, and do not use until repaired or replaced.
  • When a guillotine is altered, a new risk assessment must be done, and safety improvements made.

Download fact sheet

Metalworking guillotines (squaring or power shear) (PDF 257 KB)