Safeguarding cutting machines in printing

The guidance in the following tables describes commonly accepted and practicable safeguards for the significant hazards on some cutting machines prior to the requirements of European Standard BS EN 1010 Safety of machinery –Safety requirements for the design and construction of printing and paper converting machines.  

  • Three-knife trimmers
  • Label punching machines
  • Round cornering machines 
  • Loose knife punching machines
  • Flat-bed cutting and creasing machines
  • Autoplatens
  • Hand-fed platens
  • Guillotines

For some machines, manufactured or refurbished after March 2002, the requirements of European Standard BS EN 1010-3:2002 Safety of machinery – Safety requirements for the design and construction of printing and paper converting machines: Cutting machines apply. See also general safeguarding guidance on machinery safety in the printing industry.

Flat-bed cutting and creasing machines

 Purpose-designed machines

Feed-end (similar to sheet-fed printing presses)

  • crush injuries from descending pallets
  • in-running nips/ shear points

Prevent foot-crushing risks from descending pallet tables by having a manual system for the final 100 mm, or alternatively, hinged flaps to raise operator’s foot away from trapping point 
Adequately guard transfer mechanisms from the product pile or shear points as in-feed devices oscillate

Cutting / creasing and stripping areas

  • crush/shear

Fixed or interlocking guards 
Pre-start audible warnings if limited movement possible with guards open, and
Transport chains, which move intermittently, must be inaccessible with guards open

Delivery-end pallets

  • crush/shear

People should not enter the pallet descent area during normal operation
 Isolation and lock off required to access the pallet descent area 
Provide ssow for pallet or carriage plate changeover  
Converted printing presses – e.g. the Heidelberg Original Cylinder

Access to forme (machines with infeed/delivery at same end)

  • crush/shear

Interlocking guards provided over the forme to facilitate changeover of dies 

Inking rollers 

  • in-running nips

Remove inking rollers from presses dedicated to cutting and creasing

Cylinder gap and machine fixed parts

  • shear trap

Fixed guard – use U-bolts or similar devices round the cross tie bar’ or
interlocking guard

Oscillating delivery fingers

  • shear trap

Ensure fingers are telescopic 
Replace jammed/damaged fingers


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