Evolving gradually since the time when opinion prevailed that accidents are unpreventable, modern safety methods have come into being and successfully organized effort concentrated on their application in industry has accomplished an amazingly effective system of accident prevention. In the automotive industry, effort focused on preventive measures looking toward the elimination or reduction of casualties and fatalities has resulted in greatly increased conservation of life and property; but, as new conditions and new demands continually appear, it is evident that new methods, new means and new modifications must be continually in process and that putting these forces into production requires concentrated scientific study, forethought and executive ability. Therefore, the author not only outlines previous and present practice but states the governing factors of accident-prevention progress and suggests possibilities of improvement of methods and the means for applying them, referring specifically to machine-tools.
Forethought exercised in the design of tools to make them safe as well as suited to the work is the best method, and redesign is practised when hazards become apparent after a tool is put into operation. If redesigning a tool does not make it safe to operate, the next best method is to guard it.
Among the fundamental factors governing the safe operation of tools are the following rules. Men who operate vertical drilling-machines never should wear gloves or long sleeves. Milling-cutter chips should be brushed aside only with a brush or with a stick, and holding fixtures should make it unnecessary for the workman to expose his hands unduly to the cutter. Belts and gears ought always to be covered to prevent the entanglement of workmen. Chips and long shavings from lathe tools can largely be eliminated by proper grinding of the tool, and flying particles from high-speed brass-turning operations can be controlled safely by sheet-metal guards.
Grinding-wheels and woodworking tools necessitate careful guarding, the various means, including the use of goggles, being mentioned. Hand operations and the use of shock-tools, such as hammers, chisels, stamps, drills, drift-pins, punches and plugging-tools, are also discussed from the standpoint of safety. Emphasis is centered on the statements that most accidents are caused, they do not simply “happen,” and that tools which cause accidents can be made safe.