What Are the Best Tips for Workshop Safety?

Dan Cavallari

Some workshop safety rules will vary according to the specific activities that will be done in the space, but other rules will apply to any shop, regardless of what projects are being done. Anyone who is working in a workshop should first and foremost wear protective eyeglasses, ear protection, and in some cases, head protection. If welding will be done in the shop, workshop safety dictates that the welder wear fireproof gloves, a welding mask, and even a welding apron. A first aid kit should always be present in the workshop, and it should be readily accessible at all times.

Different clothing articles, including safety goggles, can help ensure workshop safety.
Different clothing articles, including safety goggles, can help ensure workshop safety.

Part of workshop safety is keeping the workspace clean and organized. Scattered objects can become tripping hazards, and stray sawdust or other materials can be combustible. All spark-producing machinery should be separated from combustible materials within the shop whenever possible to prevent fires, and adequate ventilation is required in the space to ensure workshop safety at all times. Open windows, air exchangers, and dust collection units are all important features to ensure workplace safety and prevent accidents or hazardous conditions.

During welding, body parts should be protected from flying sparks and intense heat.
During welding, body parts should be protected from flying sparks and intense heat.

Anyone using power tools in the workshop should first be trained in how to use them safely and properly. Workshop safety dictates that anyone who does not know how to safely operate a machine stay away from it unless a more experienced person is there to supervise. Emergency shut-off switches for power tools should be clearly marked and centrally located; anyone who enters the shop should be told where emergency shut-off switches so everyone is prepared in the event of an emergency.

Loose clothing and hair must be tucked in or tied back at all times. These can get caught in moving parts, leading to potential injury or even death. Loose-fitting clothing should be avoided if possible for this reason. Steel-toe boots are a good choice for the workshop, since materials can get dropped on a person's foot at any time. Such boots will prevent injuries to the feet and toes.

Another important workshop safety point is adequate lighting. The shop should feature overhead lights as well as any smaller lights for specific machines where intricate work is done. Never work in an under-lit space, as this can lead to potential injury. Natural light from a window is fine, but keep in mind that the amount of available light will change as the sun moves; overhead lights are a better choice.

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