Machine Shop facilities must be kept in properly working status and maintained in safe working and handling environment by every personnel. Self-discipline and good working manner is the key to success for laboratory and the workshop.

Any accident or mishap may damage equipment, cause injury or death.

There are general rules and guidelines for the people working with mechanical devices to follow. There are also operational manuals and specific rules for every item of mechanical equipment to be followed by users.

When you are operating a machine or a mechanical apparatus, you should always adopt a defensive attitude and be aware of the source of danger.

General Safety Rules

Following are the general safety rules for the people who work with mechanical devices.

  • Most workshop machinery is fitted with a safety device and this must not be removed except under the direct supervision of the LS of the Workshop. Control of the safety equipment and its positions is under responsibility of the operators before using machinery. If equipment malfunctions during operation, the machine must be shut down and reported to the LS of the workshop.
  • All workshops should be maintained in a sanitary condition and all workshop users should assist by returning tools and equipment immediately after use.
  • Tools are not to be stored on machine beds while the machine is running. Nothing should be stored on the floor where a tripping hazard may be created and any spillages must be cleaned up immediately. Metal waste bins are provided for chip and scrap.
  • All possible occupational hazards must be reported e.g. breakage on tools and machinery, faulty wiring, worn or defective equipment and unsatisfactory storage arrangements, accidents or potential accidents must be reported to the LS of the workshop.
  • Personal protective equipment e.g. all eye, ear, breathing, clothing, gloves provided must be used when applicable.
  • Proper racking facilities are provided for storage of sheet materials, rods, and bars. Vertical racking can be dangerous unless a safety chain or bar is used, and in horizontal racking the chance of accidental contact with the protruding end of rods and the sharp corners of sheet materials should be minimized.
  • Portable electrical equipment (e.g. drills) must be regularly inspected visually, and electrically tested in accordance with electrical code of practice. The cables of the portable devices should not be loose on the floor as far as possible and certainly out of the circulation areas. Portable devices and heavy machinery must be switched off when not in use.
  • Compressed air must never be used for blowing dust or swarf off clothing, skin or machinery. Incorrect utilization of compressed air may cause embolism, blindness or deafness to personnel and damage to nearby machinery.
  • People who will use the machinery in mechanical laboratories must have training in machine tool operation.
  • Appropriate eye protection (spectacles, goggles or a face mask) should be worn where there is a hazard of flying objects, small particles or dust arising out of the use of the machinery. Where cutting oils and similar liquids are in use, dermatitis presents a real hazard. Exposed skin should be protected by gloves, barrier creams and good hygiene practices, (following a suitable risk assessment). Hearing protection (ear plugs) should be readily available to shop users.
  • Loose clothing, neckties, gloves, rings and other jewellery, long hair (unless tied back and/or covered up), fabric first-aid dressings and bandages and any other material likely to be entangled by the machinery should be avoided. Close fitting overalls with no external pockets should be worn.
  • Many accidents can be avoided by the wearing of boots or shoes having built-in steel toecaps and reinforced, non-skid soles, especially in areas where oil is present or heavy equipment is being moved. Workshop users and plant operators should therefore be encouraged to use such approved safety footwear.
  • No person should work alone. In certain situations people may establish a buddy system where people located in other parts of the building are responsible for checking to see that the shop user is safe at all times. A possible implementation might involve to call with cell phones. The “buddy” could then call the user every 15 minutes or so to check on his safety. If the “buddy” does not get a response, he/she would then immediately go to the shop area to check on the shop user.

References and sources for information from the relevant websites and documentation of different universities, NGOs and government agencies used in the preparation of this website are provided at references.

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