Shop Safety

machine shop


Shop safety is a critical part of an accident prevention program. Employees, students, and visitors may be exposed to hazardous machinery, physical hazards, hazardous materials, or procedures that could result in injury. UW departments must develop a safety program to prevent injury and exposure to hazardous materials in shops. This page provides information, resources, and tools to help departments develop or improve a shop safety program.

Shop Definition

Shops are defined as a designated room or area where fabrication and repair activities occur, using tools and machinery that present physical hazards to occupants. Shops at the University include a broad range of uses that support teaching, research and facility maintenance and repair where physical hazards from tools and machinery are more prominent and would be considered hazardous to an untrained person.

Shop Locations

Coming soon... this list reflects spaces that EH&S has identified as a shop per the definition above. This list includes shops with at least one fixed power-operated machine that is active and being used by employees or students.

Shop Safety Plan

All UW departments with shops must develop and implement a shop safety (accident prevention) program that identifies a person with the authority and responsibility for safety (shop safety coordinator).

EH&S has developed a template Health and Safety Plan that may be used to help create the written document. The Health and Safety Plan completed using the template could serve as a shop specific supplement to a departmental health and safety plan.

The written health and safety plan should address: responsibilities, access control, safety information, housekeeping, hazard communications, working alone, safety training, personal protective equipment, standard operating procedures, accident reporting, and safety inspections.

Standard Operating Procedures and Hazard Assessments

As part of the safety plan, the department or unit must develop and maintain standard operating procedures for work that involves the use of hazardous equipment or substances. SOP's should be readily available or posted near equipment. EH&S has developed a number of sample SOP's listed below that may be downloaded and tailored to the needs of a specific shop.

Blank Template SOP

Example Templates

Drill Press
Iron Worker
Laser Cutter

The following additional resources may be helpful in assessing hazards of various pieces of equipment and developing SOP's:

Machine Safeguarding at the Point of Operation Guide (OSHA)

Controlling Access

floor marker

Limiting and controlling access is critical to preventing untrained or unauthorized persons from incurring injury. This is particularly true in an academic setting where a shop may be part of a group of rooms in a large building with hundreds of occupants.

Access must be controlled by keeping doors closed and locked, proactive inquiry by the shop safety coordinator and other authorized users, posting signs indicating the shop is a space requiring authorization to enter, and floor marking. A sign should be provided at the shop entrance limiting access to authorized personnel. The EH&S entry caution sign common to laboratories is an effective way to sign the entrance of the shop. Sign holders are available from EH&S and the signs may be produced using MyChem.

Working Alone

Depending upon the activity, working alone in a shop with physical hazards should be avoided. The following guidelines are intended to help organizational units develop a policy that best fits their needs. See Guidelines for Working Alone in Hazardous Areas for more information.

Hazard Zones and Walkways

floor marker

Safe passage walkways and hazard zones and other restricted areas should be clearly indicated. Space in the proximity of machinery or equipment that presents a physical hazard should be marked with signage and/or floor paint. Walkways may need to be marked to help assure safety. Storage is not permitted in equipment operating zones. Get more information and guidance in the focus sheet Access to Shops (PDF).

Safety Training

Employees, students and visitors authorized to use the shop must receive general safety training from EH&S, and shop specific safety training before they are granted access to the shop, equipment, and tools.

EH&S General Safety Training

The Safety Training for Shop Personnel document may be used to identify training needs and as a record of safety training. Once you have identified the training need, sign up for classes or take online training from the EH&S training page.

Shop Specific Orientation and Training

Shop specific orientation and training must be provided by the shop safety coordinator or designee before employees and student may be granted access to machinery, tools, and hazardous materials. The Shop Safety Training Record outlines orientation and shop specific training that may help you get started with this important step.

PPE reminder sign

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment must be available for employees and students. PPE must be maintained and readily accessible. The Shop PPE Assessment Guide will assist in identifying operations where PPE is needed to protect shop users from exposures to hazards during the tasks.

Hot Work

Shops with hot work operations such as welding and cutting with a torch must obtain permits and implement programs to prevent fire and injury. More information about this may be found at

Hazard Communication/Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

machine shopSafety data sheets must be available electronically or in physical form in the shop. Manufacturers are required to provide SDSs when a chemical or other hazardous material is first purchased. All shops must maintain an accurate inventory in MyChem for fire code compliance. MyChem is an acceptable means of providing access to SDSs. All employees and students must be able to access SDS's and understand how to read and interpret the information. See

Safety Surveys/Inspections

Self Inspections

At least annually, the shop safety coordinator should perform an inspection of the shop to identify hazards and follow up to mitigate those hazards identified. These inspections are to ensure that the shop equipment is being properly used and to provide a check on the continued adherence to the procedures. EH&S maintains a general checklist to assist departments to perform a shop safety inspection that is available at

EH&S Shop Surveys

EH&S will perform a shop safety survey periodically at a frequency of 12-24 months using a standardized checklist. The survey requires the participation of the shop safety coordinator and will typically take less than one hour.

The survey checklist questions, explanations, and regulatory references are available at You can also view a sample Shop Safety Survey Form (PDF) here.

Equipment Safety


band sawGuards are installed on machines in order to provide protection for the user from moving parts that may present a danger. It is best to cover as much of the moving part in a machine as possible. Many newer tools come with built-in guards and additional safety features including flesh sensing “sawstop” technologies and kickback features. Guards may also be purchased from manufacturers or other retailers for older tools and replacements. The links below are explanations of guard importance and examples of guards that may be installed on machines in order to increase user safety.

Machine Safeguarding at the Point of Operation - Guide (OR OSHA) (PDF)

Basics of Machine Safeguarding - OSHA

Manufacturer details on the Biesemeyer-T-Square Blade Guard System for Table Saw (PDF)

Machine Safeguarding Tools Retailers

Rockford Systems

Machine Guard (PDF)

Lockout TagOut (LOTO)

Does your shop have equipment that is permanently connected to a power source (hard wired) or has a potential to release stored energy? If so you need to implement a LOTO program to prevent injury. More information about this program may be found at

Securing Non-Portable Equipment / Machinery

Secure top-heavy or unsteady equipment to the floor to prevent movement or shifting during use. Using concrete anchors and bolts may be one way to secure equipment but still move it later if necessary.


A "crane" is a machine for lifting and lowering a load and moving it horizontally. The hoisting mechanism is an integral part of the machine. Cranes can be fixed or mobile and manual or power driven.

Overhead and gantry cranes, including semi gantry, cantilever gantry, wall cranes, jib cranes, storage bridge cranes, and others having the same fundamental characteristics, with a capacity of a half ton or greater, must be maintained and inspected. This service should be conducted by qualified personnel. Some crane inspection firms in the Seattle area include:

Operators must be competent and qualified but need not be certified as required for construction cranes. Operator training should be documented.

EH&S Responsibility and Service

EH&S is responsible to help departments identify risk and provide consultation and support to improve their safety. Consistent with this responsibility, EH&S will also:

  • Perform periodic shop safety surveys and provide survey reports identifying safety findings
  • Provide follow up consultation and support as resources allows
  • Maintain a shop inventory
  • Provide caution sign holders for shop entries
  • Perform design review of new shop facilities

For assistance, contact EH&S at (206) 616-6261.

Accident Reporting

All injuries and near-misses, including those potentially caused by work in shops, must be reported using the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS).

Other Information

Regulation and Policy

The following is a short list of major regulations that relate to this program. More specific references may be found on the shop survey explanation web page.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries

International Fire Code (IFC) and local amendments

Executive Order #55

UW APS 10.3