Equipment Safety in Your Machine Shop

George Davis

Revisiting Equipment Safety Fundamentals

Cuts, burns, blindness, electrocution, amputation, name it. Almost every kind of hazard can be found in a machine shop. There’s no telling what could befall any machinist, technician or apprentice as they go through their day-to-day job. That is, unless they learn to control all hazards that may cause them their health, or worse, their life. Today, we’re going to get back to the basics of equipment safety.

If you happen to be working in a machine shop, here are guidelines you should remember and follow to keep yourself safe as you accomplish your tasks:

Wear PPE

Wear PPE (personal protective equipment) appropriate to your job.

Safety Goggles

Always wear safety goggles or safety glasses whether or not you’re operating a machine. Otherwise, chips and other debris from co-worker’s machines could fly into your eyes.

Protective Gloves

Wear safety gloves every time you have to work with hazardous chemicals and objects with sharp points or edges. The same is true when you’re exposed to such hazards as skin abrasions, excessively high or low temperature, electrical shock, and vibration.


Employers must provide employees with respirators that comply with OSHA regulations. This is only after evaluating the feasibility of installing engineering controls like fume hoods or general ventilation systems.

Proper Clothing

Skimpy clothing, loose clothing, torn clothing and unrestrained hair are big no-no’s as they cause discomfort and may pose the threat of entanglement.

Never wear sandals, cloth sneakers or perforated shoes in areas where chemicals are used or mechanical work is performed. It’s advisable to don smocks for minor chemical spills and splashes or rubber or plastic aprons for corrosive or irritating liquids.


Before operating a machine, inspect it thoroughly for missing or loose bolts, nuts, screws and other components.

Check if all appropriate guards are secure.

Slow Down

Never rush machine speeds or feeds. This can result to your injury or damage of tools or machinery.

Pay Attention

Never leave machines unattended.

While operating the machine, listen to it carefully. If something does not sound right, immediately turn it off and thoroughly inspect it for problems.


Ensure that you follow proper lockout/blockout procedures before servicing, repairing or maintaining a machine.

Be Professional

Never horseplay in the machine shop.

Good Housekeeping

Always clean up a machine after you’re done using it. Besides being uncomfortable to use, a dirty machine can result to injury.

Never use compressed air to blow machines clean. This can cause flying particle hazards and may force dirt into machine bearings.

Make sure all walkways and personnel traffic areas are clear of all kinds of scrap. All work areas must be free of clutter, debris and trip hazards.

Keep all surfaces in the work area clean. Ensure that all platforms and floors are free of grease, oil and spill hazards.

Call (877) 673-4369 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

Related Links:

Better Safety with Machine Guards: Basics and Proper Use

Top 7 Tips on Using the 2006 Census to Improve Workplace Safety

Lockout Tagout Basics : Machinery Tags (When Absence Means Trouble)

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations

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