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OMRON Scientific Technologies, Inc.
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Machine Safeguarding Applications & Solutions

Safety Requirements for Metal Sawing Machines

I have a colleague who is concerned that at his facility, a horizontal bandsaw is being used as a vertical bandsaw.

Technically it has the capacity, but it's not designed for this primary use, and he feels the platform is less stable and poses some safety risk by this application. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Omron STI Answer: The ANSI B11 standards for safety of machine tools define a "user" as "An individual, corporation, partnership other legal entity or form of business that utilizes a machine, machine production system or related equipment."

In simpler terms, the user is considered the employer.

Utilizing this working definition, we can then reference ANSI B11.10-2003 (R2009) - Safety Requirements for Metal Sawing Machines, which directly addresses the safe use of both horizontal and vertical band saws when used for metal cutting. In this national consensus standard, the responsibilities of the user are addressed as:

"The user shall be responsible for the overall workplace safety of personnel. The user shall review the machine and its associated equipment including installation, set-up, operation and maintenance and any modifications as provided by the supplier(s) to ensure their compliance with applicable requirements.

The user shall ensure that a procedure for the inspection and maintenance is established so that the machine, its guards and protective devices are used in accordance with the supplier's recommendations and are in safe operating condition and adjustment."

Furthermore, the standard recommends:

"Users should follow the supplier's instructional material regarding the unpacking, handling, installation, operation and maintenance including safeguarding of the machine."

Therefore, Omron STI recommends that the user consult directly with the machine builder of the horizontal band saw to determine if it is designed for safe use in a vertical application. If the OEM states that the equipment is not intended for this use, or if the OEM is unavailable and cannot be contacted, the user should strongly consider purchasing a vertical band saw for the application. Like they say, always use the right tool for the job!

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