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Drill press safety

Drill press safety

Drill presses are a common machine in any workshop. They are designed as stationary or bench top models. They are used to bore holes into hard materials such as wood, metals and plastics. Used improperly these machines can pose significant risks. Let’s cover safe practices regarding drill presses.

Safety in preparation to use a drill press:

  • Safety glasses should be worn to protect eyes from flying metal or wood pieces
  • Manual speed adjustments to belts should be made only when the machine is powered off and disconnected from the power source
  • All belts should have guarding in place before running the machine
  • Any long hair, loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in the spindle should be tied back or taken off
  • Ensure the chuck key is removed before powering the machine on
  • Set table and stops at the correct height and ensure the right bit is in place before starting the machine
  • Clamp material if needed to safely hold it in place
  • Ensure there is a start/stop button within the reach of the operator before beginning
  • Make sure any guards, shields, or barriers are in place and working properly
  • Use a vacuum or brush to remove cuttings
  • Lubricate drill bit when drilling metal
  • Keep drill bits clean and sharp

How to safely use a drill press:

  • Keep hands clear of the chuck and drill bit when the machine is running
  • Pull the feed handle at a consistent rate of speed
  • Let the drill bit come to a complete stop before removing material
  • If the grip is lost on material while drilling, do not grab it/turn the machine off and let it come to a complete stop before removing the material
  • Do not leave the drill press running unattended


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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