Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Machine Shops


  • Shop Coordinators should perform quarterly shop inspections and document results. This self-inspection checklist may be used to help identify hazardous conditions. Hazardous conditions must be corrected immediately.
  • EHS will audit machine shops at least annually.
  • Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) may inspect shops on campus.


  • Floors, machines, and other surfaces must be kept free of dirt and debris. If floor surfaces are wet or slippery or become wet during work activities, they should be protected with a non-slip coating or covering.
  • Wood and metal chips, sawdust, and other debris must be routinely cleaned if collection systems are not in place and operating.


  • Where machinery is hard-wired into the electrical system, an accessible and labeled disconnect (if not obvious) shall be provided.
  • Where machinery is cord-and-plug connected to the power supply, proper grounding shall be maintained. missing knockout
  • Exposed energized electrical hazards, such as missing knockouts, covers, damaged cords, etc., shall be corrected immediately.
  • Proper lockout/tagout procedures shall be followed for all servicing and maintenance of machinery and equipment.

Material Storage and Handling

  • Stock materials must be stored in such a manner as to prevent falling, slipping, or rolling.
  • Material should not be stored on the floor, and may not be stored where they will impede egress from the area.
  • Use shelves or cabinets, as appropriate, to store materials.
  • Mezzanines used to store materials shall be load rated and marked accordingly. Mezzanines shall not be overloaded.


  • Chemicals must be stored in cabinets approved for that use, as appropriate.
  • Do not store incompatible chemicals together.
  • Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals used must be maintained in the shop area.
  • Compressed gas cylinders must be stored, used, and handled in accordance with safe work practices.

Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Flammable and combustible liquids include, but are not limited to, materials such as gasoline, oils, some paints, lacquers, thinners, cleaners, and solvents. To determine if a material or product is flammable or combustible, review the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or read the manufacturers label on the product.

  • Information regarding proper storage, handling and use of flammable and combustable liquids can be found in the Fire and Life Safety Program, or by contacting EHSS at 231-9068.
  • Store any cloth or paper rags, or material that has been saturated with flammable or combustible liquids, in an approved metal can with a tight-fitting lid. These materials should be removed on a daily basis and placed into a 55-gallon metal drum with tight fitting lid located in an approved storage location. Contact EHS at 231-2982 for approval of the storage location and to arrange disposal of the drum when full.
  • Always remove/replace clothing that has become saturated with a flammable or combustible liquid-even if it is just a little. Saturated clothing can easily ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as radiant heat, flame, sparks or slag from hot work, or an electrical arc.


A shop area must be accessed only by those persons who have received training consistent with this program.

exit signLayout/Egress

  • Aisles and walkways must be kept free of debris and obstructions and a clear path must be maintained to the exit.
  • All exits shall be properly identified with signage.
  • Machinery should be placed so that a clear and safe operating area is maintained for each machine.


  • The shop area must have adequate lighting to perform the work safely.
  • Sufficient ventilation is required for welding and cutting areas.
  • Noise control or hearing protection may be necessary.
  • Harmful dusts, mists, and fumes shall be properly controlled or employees shall be protected.


  • No person should work in a shop area alone.
  • Hours of operation should be established.
  • Emergency contact numbers, and a means for summoning help, must be readily available.

Shop Guidelines

The Shop Safety Coordinator should establish shop specific information such as hours of operation, controls over who can access the space, and general housekeeping rules and post this information near the shop entrance. Shop guidelines and rules must be clearly posted.

Clothing and Protective Equipment

Machinery hazards include rotating parts, which can catch loose hair, clothing, or jewelry in a matter of seconds pulling you into the machine causing serious injury (scalping, choking, cuts, amputations, crushing, etc.) or death. Look for belts, pulleys, shafts, blades, bits that rotate and ensure they are properly guarded! In addition, the following guidelines should be specified on the Hazard Assessment Form for the shop:

  • No long sleeve shirts
  • No loose shirt tails (tuck into pants)
  • No neck ties, scarves, or hood strings
  • No loose jewelry (i.e. necklaces, bracelets, watches, rings, etc.)
  • No gloves (recommended for material handling only; not during machinery use)
  • No open-toed shoes (i.e. sandals, flip flops)
  • Long pants recommended
  • Hearing protection is highly recommended and may be required in some instances
  • Hair below the collar of your shirt must be secured (tied back and tucked in shirt or covered by a hat)
  • Long beards must be covered
  • Safety glasses must be worn at all times.
  • Face shields (required when using grinders)
  • Other machine-specific clothing/equipment as recommended by the manufacturer