Safety Rules for a Drill Press


A drill press consists of a stand, a drill chuck to hold a drill bit and a motor to turn the drill bit, which is used to drill or bore holes in precise locations in a work piece. A drill press, though, can be very dangerous if you do not follow some basic safety rules and tips.

Be Cautious

  • Do not become too comfortable around this machine, as that will be the time that you get hurt. Always be aware of where you are placing your hands and fingers. Drill presses do not come with safety shutoffs like table saws, so once you start a drill press, the only way to stop it is to turn off the switch.

Secure Your Work

  • Never try to hold your work in place using just your hands. All it takes is a split second when the drill bit catches or binds in the work piece for it to pull your hand in. Always use a vise or some other method of securing your work to the table on the drill press to avoid being injured.

Do Not Get Caught in The Moving Parts

  • There are several moving parts that you can get caught in. The most obvious is the drill bit or chuck. The not so obvious parts are the pulleys and the belt located under the cover on the top of the drill press. Before starting the drill press, be sure the top cover is closed and secure. Since you are watching the work area, it is easy to get to close to these moving parts if the cover is missing or not in place.

Loose Clothes and Other Hazards

  • It is easy to get caught up in a drill press by wearing loose clothing, not pulling back and securing long hair, wearing gloves or even jewelry. All of these things can be snagged by the drill bit, pulling your hand or some other part of your body into the moving parts of the drill press.

Protect Your Eyes

  • Be sure to wear safety glasses when operating a drill press. You can find them at any home improvement store, and they range in cost from a couple of dollars up to about $30. Do not skimp--spend the extra money and get a pair that will last.

Safety Power Switch

  • Drill presses do not come with a safety cut-off or a power switch like you find on a table saw. For a little piece of mind, you can either build one yourself or spend about $30 to add one. If searching online for one, the description will say it is for a router table, but it will work for a drill press too. These will allow you to turn off the drill press while keeping your hands on the piece you are drilling.

An Extra Note

  • Before starting any drill press, be sure it is on a stable surface, all the parts are tightened, the cover is in place over the pulleys, and that you are not wearing any loose clothing or anything that can become tangled in the moving parts of the drill press.

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