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Metalworking Machines - Drill Presses

What should you do before using a drill press?

Drill presses can be dangerous if not used properly.

  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Make sure you understand the instructions and are properly trained before operating a drill press.
Drill press

Refer to Metalworking Machines - General for basic safety tips.

What are some safe work practices to know when using a drill press?

  • Wear appropriate safety glasses.
  • Ensure that the drill press has a start/stop button within easy reach of the operator.
  • Use a vacuum, brush or rake to remove cuttings.
  • Remove burrs and chips from a drilled hole. When making deep holes, clean out the hole frequently.
  • Use a clamp or drill vise to prevent work from spinning.
  • Make sure the drill bit or cutting tool is locked securely in the chuck. Remove the chuck key before starting the drill press.
  • Lubricate drill bit when drilling metal.
Lubricate drill bit
  • Reduce the drilling pressure when the drill begins to break through the workpiece. This action prevents drill from pulling into the work and breaking.
  • Keep drill bits clean and sharp. Dull drills are a common cause of breakage.
  • Keep floor around the drill press free of oil and grease.
  • Keep the working surface clean of scraps, tools and materials.
  • Keep guards in place and in good working order.
Keep guards in place
  • Shut off power before removing the drill bit.

Refer to portable hand drills for additional information.

What are some things you should avoid doing?

  • Do not wear any loose clothing or ties. Roll sleeves above the elbow to prevent them from being caught in revolving parts. Confine long hair.
  • Do not wear gloves, rings, watches, or bracelets while working with a drill press.
  • Do not set speeds, adjust, or measure work until machine is completely stopped.
  • Do not force the drill with extra pressure.
  • Do not leave chuck key in drill chuck. Make adjustments and remove key immediately.
  • Do not hold work by hand when drilling holes; secure the work with clamps or vices.
  • Do not place hands under the stock being drilled.
  • Do not stop rotation of chuck and spindle with your hand.
  • Do not remove a broken drill with a centre punch and hammer.
  • Do not leave the drill press running unattended.

Document last updated on June 1, 2011
Document confirmed current on May 30, 2013


Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.