Lathe trainee

Lathe Trainee may use the Metal Lathe under supervision of a Lathe User. This is to allow the trainee to gain experience while having their practice checked by a more experienced user thus reducing the risk of harm to the lathe operator or by-standers.


The following induction should be given by a Lathe Superuser.

There is a recommended donation of £20 for this induction which will be put towards lathe tooling and maintenance.


The lathe is really, really, REALLY dangerous. According to HSE this is how most accidents happen:

A fatal accident arising from entanglement on rotating parts happens every year or so in the UK. Entanglements on workpieces, chucks, carriers and unguarded stock bars cause most accidents. Many accidents happen using hand-held emery cloth to smooth and polish components Direct contact with moving parts causes many injuries Eye injuries from machine cleaning, swarf removal and unenclosed machining when eye protection is not worn are frequent. Chuck keys ejected from rotating chucks.

Health and safety in engineering workshops HSG129 (Second edition, published 1999), HSE

Are you sure you still want to use the lathe?

Meet the lathe

While the power switch is still locked, describe and explain the basic workings of the lathe. Use the diagram in the lathe user manual (page 10) to explain what each of the controls do.

Draw attention to the entanglement risks: chuck, thread and feed.

Discuss the chuck, workpiece holding and use of tailstock centre.

Discuss speed, feed, cutting tools and angles.

If the user has little or no experience, it may take some explaining. You can come back to this later in the demonstration part of the induction process. Part 3. The checklists. These are non-negotiable habits. Every time the lathe is used, refer to these checklists - it may save your life or someone else's.

A note on checklists: Surgeons, pilots and other high risk operators rely on them to keep people safe and alive. It works. Ask yourself each of the points out loud and give a reply. If any of them are negative, take action to correct this and start from the beginning again.

Go through each point on the checklist, ask the user why they think that point is important or how it helps to keep them (or others) safe.

Superuser Demonstration

Give a demonstration of the lathe. Say out loud each point of the pre-use, pre-operation, post-operation and post-use checklists as you work.

User Demonstration

During the entire user demonstration, have the user say out loud each point of the checklists as they work. If they fail to do so, they should restart the checklist.

Have the user perform each of the checklists without starting the lathe.

If the user has significant experience on a lathe with power feed they should give a demonstration of basic operations.

If the user has limited or no experience the superuser should demonstrate each basic operation before the user does so

Recommended minimum basic operations:

  • Emergency stop
  • Facing cut
  • Drilling with centre drill
  • Use of live centre
  • Turning cut
  • Use of power feed
  • Parting off

Finish induction

Award the Lathe Trainee role If satisfied that the user understands:

  • The risks
  • This specific lathe
  • The checklists
  • Basic operations

If there is any doubt, recommend further learning and another induction at a later date.

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