In a machine shop, metals and composites are cut and shaped into finished products using hand tools and machines such as saws, lathes, drills, and grinders. Common injuries in machine shops include debris in the eye, cuts, and caught/crush machine injuries.
Choose proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the machine shop. Wear safety glasses at all times in the shop. At any time, debris may fly out of a machine and into your eye. Consider a face shield when you are working up close with grinding and cutting job tasks. Wear comfortable shoes with a non-slip sole. Consider toe reinforcement if you work with heavy objects. Earplugs protect your hearing in a noisy machining environment.
Choose gloves depending on your job task. Use proper gloves when you handle stock with sharp edges and hand-cut sharp items. Don’t wear gloves when you are operating machinery. The machine can pull in a loose glove and your hand/arm. While you operate machines, wear close-fitting clothing, tie back long hair, and remove your jewelry.
Get training in your job tasks and follow safe work procedures. Learn about the machines you use. Know where the moving, rotating, and cutting parts are. Know which machines are operated manually and which could start automatically by computer control. Know where your hands are at all times. Use push sticks, not your hands, to feed stock materials. Never reach into an operating machine. Don’t leave a machine running unattended.
Operate machines according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Follow machine feed rates; don’t force materials into or pull them through faster than the machine can process them. Ensure that all guards and interlock safety devices are installed and properly positioned. Inspect machining tools each time you use them. Before you perform maintenance or clear a jam, turn the machine off and wait until the parts have stopped motion. Use proper lockout/tagout procedures before you begin adjustments, maintenance, or clear jams.
Good shop and task lighting help you see your work materials and moving machine parts clearly. Firmly secure materials that will be drilled or punched to prevent them from slipping or spinning on the machine. Remove keys, chucks, tools, and shavings/trimmings before starting machines so they don’t get propelled through the air.
Practice good housekeeping to prevent fires and falls. Don’t use compressed air to clean up; it can blow debris into machines and makes the shavings airborne. Shavings can be hot and sharp; sweep up with a brush and dustpan or a wooden scraper.
Machined materials and machines must be lubricated and cooled. In addition, solvents are used to clean parts after they are made. Know the properties of the chemicals you work with by reading the Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations, or standards.