General Shop Safety


The hazards associated with shop areas require special safety considerations. The potential for personal injury is significant whether you work in a machine shop, vehicle repair, electrical, or another type of shop. Examples of hazards include: rotating parts, flying chips/particulate, cuts, pinch points and/or exposure to gases or chemicals. It is not possible to note all the potential risks involved with the various shops. However, it is possible to avoid many hazards by carefully planning your work prior to using any equipment or machinery. To prevent accidents, utilize your knowledge, training, and common sense. Know the hazards associated with your work and minimize or eliminate them prior to commencing work.

Before working in a shop area, be sure you are properly trained to perform the work to be done. This includes completing the Basic Shop Safety Training as well as any required training specific to the machinery/equipment you will be working on. Inspect your tools and equipment before using them. If a procedure is potentially hazardous to others in the area, alert them accordingly. Notify your supervisor if you notice any unsafe conditions such as: defective tools/equipment or machines that are not properly guarded. Be careful not to distract persons who are working in the shop area. Always remember that machinery/equipment can be dangerous when not used properly. Ensure you are following RIT’s Shop Safety guidelines that are posted in shop areas. These guidelines can also be found by clicking the Shop Safety Rules link on the right side of this page.

Machine/Equipment Guards

Moving machine parts must be safeguarded to protect operators from serious injury. Belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, fly wheels, blades, chains, chucks, and other moving parts must be guarded if there is a chance they could cause injury. The hazards associated with moving machinery can be deadly. See information about RIT’s Machine Guarding program via the link to the right.

Training Requirements

The RIT Environmental Health & Safety Department provides basic Shop Safety Training on-line.

Also note that everyone needs to take machine/equipment specific training. Instruction in the safe use and care of machines and equipment is essential in preventing injuries in shop areas.

Training should include:

  • How to safely operate machinery/equipment used in shops;
  • The purpose and proper use of machine safeguards;
  • Safety procedures: Buddy System, Lockout Tagout;
  • Location of emergency equipment and exits; and
  • Any shop specific procedures.

Retraining is required when a person is assigned to a new machine/piece of equipment or operation; when new or altered safeguards are used; and/or whenever training deficiencies are discovered.

Contact the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department with any questions at (585) 475-7092.