Machine Shop Safety

Blindness, electrocution, amputations, cuts and burns are some of the hazards that can happen in a machine shop. Machinists, technicians and apprentices are exposed to these dangers in their day-to-day jobs, so it is vital they learn how to control these hazards to make their working lives as safe as possible.

Safety checklist

If you work in a machine shop, here are some guidelines to help keep you safe while you do your work.


Personal protection

  1. Wear personal protective equipment that is appropriate to the job.
  2. Wear safety glasses or safety goggles, even if you are not operating a machine. Remember, chips and other debris from a co-worker’s machine can get into your eyes.
  3. Wear safety gloves whenever you work with hazardous chemicals or objects that have sharp edges or points.
  4. Wear safety gloves if you could suffer skin abrasions, very high or low temperatures, vibrations or electrical shock.
  5. Use respirators if dealing with fumes or poor ventilation.
  6. Wear protective clothing that is not too loose or torn.
  7. Restrain long hair – it could be caught in machinery.
  8. Wear appropriate closed-toe shoes. Never wear thongs, sandals, runners or perforated shoes anywhere near chemicals or mechanical machinery.
  9. Wear smocks for protection from minor chemical splashes and spills. Alternatively, wear plastic or rubber aprons if working with irritating or corrosive substances.


General safety

  1. Inspect machinery thoroughly before operating it. Check there are no loose or missing bolts, screws, nuts or other components.
  2. Check that all of the appropriate guards are in place and secure.
  3. Do not rush machine speeds or feeds. This could lead to injury or damage to the machinery or tools.
  4. Do not leave machinery unattended.
  5. Listen to operating machines. If something sounds wrong, turn it off straight away and inspect it for problems.
  6. Make sure you follow proper lockout or blockout procedures before maintaining, servicing or repairing machines.
  7. Do not muck about or play around in the machine shop.
  8. Clean up the machines after using them. A dirty machine can cause injuries.
  9. Do not use compressed air for cleaning machines. It will cause hazardous particles to fly around and could force dirt into the machine bearings.
  10. Ensure all personnel traffic areas and walkways are clear of any kind of scrap.
  11. Keep work areas free of debris, clutter and trip hazards.
  12. Keep all of the surfaces in the work area clean.
  13. Keep platforms and floors free of oil, grease and spill hazards.


Sitecraft have a comprehensive range of mandatory signs to remind workers they must wear personal protection. These include eye protection, gloves, hard hat, face shield, hair protection, hearing protection, protective clothes, safety footwear, masks, respirators as well as some combination signs.