Working Safely with Sheet Metal Guillotines

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Safety guidelines to follow when using metal cutting guillotines

Safety is always the most important part of any operation.

When it comes to industrial equipment, special regulations have to be implemented to ensure that operators remain injury-free while working. This is because there is always a heightened threat to safety when working with industrial equipment.

Metalwork is especially dangerous because of the general properties of metals. The forces required to cut, bend, or shape metals far exceed that required to damage human tissue and skeletal systems. It is therefore of utmost importance to take proper safety precautions when working with metal manipulating machines.

sheet metal guillotine

What are metal guillotines used for?

The name guillotine, which originally only referred to the execution apparatus, has since been given to various other equipment used to cut via shearing forces.

Metal guillotines have become a staple in the metal industry and are used to cut metal, especially sheet metal, of various thicknesses and dimensions.

Sheet Metal cutting guillotines are often referred to as metal shears and range in sizes from small, hand-operated to large, electrically, or hydraulically operated cutters.

Common associated injuries with metal guillotines

One would assume that the most commonly reported injury from operating metal guillotines would be amputated limbs from the guillotine blades.

While this injury has been reported and is always a possibility, it is not the most popular injury.

The most commonly reported injuries are crushed or amputated fingers caused by being caught in the clamps used to secure the workpiece or being damaged by the weight or sharpness of the workpiece itself.

It is also common for operators to suffer from strains, especially when working with heavy metals.

Metal guillotines safety procedures

Each operating plant has the responsibility to develop a safe operating procedure for their guillotine which tailors to that specific plant setup.

There are, however, some general safety rules that should be adhered to no matter where the guillotine is being used. Some of these rules are:

  • Ensure all guards are in place and that all the safety systems are operational before using the machine. These include emergency stops, operating light indicators, etc.
  • Emergency stops should be within easy reach of the operator.
  • Operating controls should be so set up that they are not easy to accidentally engage.
  • Ensure the room is adequately lit. The recommended lighting according to the Australian Standard 1680 Code is 400 lux. This should be positioned in a way that does not leave a direct glare on the machine.
  • Multiple persons should not operate a guillotine unless each person has an interlocking actuating device.
  • The machine should be properly locked out and tagged out when being cleaned, maintained, or repaired.

High-Quality Metal Guillotines

For reasons inclusive of safety, efficiency, quality, and effectiveness, it is always recommended to use a high-quality manufactured guillotine. There are many manufacturers of metal guillotines but not all brands are made equal.

metal guillotines

Some well known recommended brands of sheet metal guillotines include:

  • Metalmax
  • Machtech
  • Yawei

Always ensure that you check in with top industry professionals before deciding as to which sheet metal guillotine is right for your specific usage. One well-respected dealer in Australia is Applied Machinery. Feel free to browse their catalogue at to check out both new and used sheet metal guillotines and other industrial equipment.

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