Machine Shop and Heavy Equipment

Machine Shop Safety

  • If possible, do not work alone in the shop
  • Safety glasses and hearing protection
  • Thick shoes or boots are highly recommended, open-toed shoes are prohibited
  • Know when and when NOT to wear gloves
      • Y: Welding, grinding, chemicals, high temp
      • N: Lathe, Mill, Various Saws
  • Only use a machine if you have been trained by an experienced user*
  • Make sure all guards are in place and secured
  • Know the location of the emergency stop button and how to use it
  • Minimize clutter, do not store tools on machine surfaces
  • Reference a speed chart to help prevent tool failure
  • Make sure workpieces are properly secured before starting the machine
  • Use a sacrificial piece when applicable (drill press, mill)
  • Use a push-stick to cut narrow strips or small pieces of material with (band/table saw)
  • Make sure fume hoods are on when welding/ using torch
  • Always use a full face helmet when welding/ using torch
  • Avoid performing metalworking procedures near flammable materials
  • Know the location of the following:
      • Laboratory phone and Lab supervisor information
      • Fire extinguishers and fire alarm
      • All exits, and emergency exit route
      • Hazardous chemicals (flammables/corrosives)
      • Electrical Panels and wall outlets (for quick shutdown response)
      • Sink and first-aid kit
  • Consider using the services of an external shop: the safest shop is the one you never use.

Heavy Machinery Operation

    • Be aware of the location of others
    • Inspect the machine before use to confirm proper operation
    • Speak to the previous operator, if possible
    • Take it slow (most accidents happen when you are in a rush)
    • Have at least one spotter, someone with a different vantage point
    • Understand non-verbal signal (espeically in loud enviornments)
    • Note maximum load capacity, be conservative in weight estimates
    • Minimize load weight, if possible
    • Forklift and crane operation
    • Know how to use hoist and its load capacity

Useful links:

UW-Madison CoE Shop:

UC-Riverside (shop safety):

OSHA (forklifts):

Grainger (overhead cranes):