Safety Precautions while using a Sewing Machine
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Tips for Personal Safety while using a Sewing Machine
1. Fingers at a safe distance from the needle
It is important to keep your fingers at a safe distance from the presser foot and machine needle. Although, there cannot be an exact guidance about how far should your finger be from the needle, it is recommended to keep your fingers approximately 1’’ away from the needle. More than often sewing accidents happen with the machine needle piercing the fingers.
This could happen when sometimes the hands, while manoeuvring the fabric, keep moving with the rhythm and mistakenly get too close to the machine needle. There could be accidents, when workers are changing/ tightening or adjusting the presser foot/machine needle or examining the sewing area without switching off the machine and accidently press the foot pedal. Therefore, first golden rule for using a sewing machine safely is to keep your fingers away from machine needle as much as possible and keep the machine switched off when it is necessary to bring your fingers close to the sewing area.
2. Hair to be managed properly
Long, open hair can unsettle both the machine and the worker and cause or initiate major accidents. While there is always a possibility of long hair getting entangled with the machine needle, hair flicks can disturb view and unsettle the worker causing machine accidents. It is advisable to tie the hair at the back of the head while working on a sewing machine.
3. Pincushion for pins & needles
One of the most hazardous accidents while using a sewing machine happen when workers unknowingly swallow the pin or machine needle. It is not advisable to hold the needle or pin between your lips, even if it is for a few seconds. Keeping a pin-cushion or magnetic pin box close to your work area proves handy in managing pins and needles while working on the sewing machine.
4. Keep scissors wisely
Serious accidents, like sharp edge of a heavy pair of scissors falling on toes, scissor poking hands and unintentional cuts can happen by not keeping scissors properly when not in use. It is advisable to always rest scissors, in closed position, in appropriate place, which is reachable by hands but not cluttering the work table.
5. Switch On/Off & Unplug
Sewing machines should not be kept switched on when not in use. Keeping them switched on when not in use can cause needle prick accidents like mentioned above and there are other possibilities of machine damage because of unnecessary, constant power supply to the machine.
6. Careful with electricity
Long wires are essential part of sewing machine kit. These wires need to be kept in good condition to ensure the user doesn’t get an electric shock. Any cuts, twists or damages to the electric cables should be immediately attended and fixed. It is not advisable to use wires with multiple, local fixes. Such wires should be replaced as soon as possible. Rolling electric cables systematically and placing them in the cover pocket when machine is not in use can prolong the life of electric cables.
7. Keep work table decluttered
Work table clutter can impact worker safety in multiple ways. A cluttered desk can increase the possibility of freak accidents like heavy equipment falling on the worker, supply box spills and fabric damage. Organised work-table improves worker efficiency in terms of time and work quality and also keeps the worker safe to a large extent.
8. Keep attentive
It is important to keep attentive to your fabric while it is being fed into the sewing machine. Sewing machines, howsoever advanced they are, need worker’s undivided attention. Whole lot of sewing machine accidents happen when workers are distracted by conversation, screens or trying to multitask.
Tips for Sewing Machine safety
1. Always place pins perpendicular to the stitching line
It is a common practice to pin layers/folds of fabric in place before a seam is placed. It is important to always place these pins perpendicular to the direction of the stitch line. This helps in preventing lateral shifting of layers from the marked position. Also, this ensures easy removal of pins while sewing.
2. Do not sew over pins
While it is important to pin layers & folds to ensure sewing in the right place, stitching over pins can cause multiple damages to your sewing machine; most prevalent being needle breakage & needle bending. It is therefore advisable to keep pulling out pins as the said area approaches the pressure foot. This would be an easy task if the pins are placed perpendicular to the stitch line.