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Old 07-21-2007, 02:44 PM   #1
Tin Falcon
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Default Shop Safety rules

As a home machinist the rules we follow are up to us they are not likely posted and not even written on paper. They are in our mind or heart . There are no stupid rules because it is your shop and do things your way. But we need to work safe if we are always getting hurt the hobby is no longer fun. so here is a written set of rules to follow or use as a guide . Again it is your shop you work in so pick what works for you but above all work safely.

Machine Shop Safety

• Safety Glasses
Even when you're not working on a machine, you must wear safety glasses Even hand tools can make chips.
• Wear Hearing Protection as required (If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 ft away hearing protection should be worn).
• Clothes and Hair
• Check your clothes and hair before you walk into the shop.
If your hair is caught in spinning machinery, it will be pulled out if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, you will be pulled into the machine.
Roll up sleeves. Neckties, scarves, loose sleeves, etc. are prohibited
No open toed sandals. Wear shoes that give a sure footing. If you are working with heavy objects, steel toes are recommended.
• Safe Conduct in the Shop
Be aware of what's going on around you. Pets and family members may move things or enter the shop at any time.
• Keep Machinery Area Clear. Do not put unneeded items on or around machines.
• Keep Walkways Clear. Remove tripping hazards, and clean spills up immediately.
• Concentrate on what you're doing.
• Don't hurry. If you catch yourself rushing, slow down.
• Don't rush speeds and feeds. You'll end up damaging your part, the tools, and maybe the machine or yourself
• Listen to the machine. If something doesn't sound right, turn the machine off.
• Don't attempt to measure a part that's moving.
• Don't let someone else talk you into doing something dangerous.
• If someone speaks to you while you’re running a machine, keep your eyes on your machine and not on the person.
• If you get tired or are feeling ill, turn machine off, take a break.
• Machining
• Read the Manual
• Study the machine. Know which parts move, which are stationary, and which are sharp.
• Double check that your work piece and tool are securely held.
• Remove chuck keys and wrenches.
• Use no rags on machinery while it is in operation and/or in use.
• Do not place any tools or other metal objects on machine ways.
• Do not clear chips from machines with bare hands. Use pliers or a chip brush.

A dirty machine is unsafe and uncomfortable to work on. Do NOT use compressed air to blow machines clean! This endangers people's eyes and can force dirt into machine bearings.
• When working alone keep a clear path to the telephone and have it as close at hand as practical and safe.
• Do Not operate Machinery after or while consuming Alcoholic beverages.
• Cease hot operations 30 minutes prior leaving the shop area unattended. ie welding, brazing, heavy grinding, smoking etc.
• Store flammables in a safe place
• Keep a fire extinguisher handy inspect regularly.
• Chemical safety
• Keep all solvents cutting oils and other chemicals in proper storage containers.
• keep all chemicals in clearly marked containers.
• Keep food and chemicals separated.
• Do not use food ovens for chemicals or chemical ovens for food.
( If you use an old oven from the kitchen for chemicals it is now a chemical oven!
• Wash hands before eating drinking smoking or using the bathroom (and after).
• Grinders :Wear double eye protection.
Keep all guards in place
Keep tool rest adjusted 1/8 " from wheel
DO NOT grind aluminum or brass
DO NOT Grind on side of wheel.
Do not stand in line with spinning wheel
Wear a dust respirator Metal and Wheel dust can be harmful if inhaled.
First aid Kit:
Have one
Mark its location
Inspect /restock regularly

• Place machines and lighting on separate circuits if possible
if a machine trips a breaker you will not be left in the dark.
• It is your shop you are responsible for your safety.


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Old 05-11-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

This list should be printed out and stuck on the wall of all our machine shops, If not for your benifit then for others who walk in. I will certainly be putting a copy up.
excellent work Tin and thanks

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Old 10-06-2008, 12:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

One other of value - Cell phones, telephones, pagers, and the like ... if they're not absolutely positively critical to be left on, shut them down. Kill the ringers. Whatever it takes to not get startled by one of them sounding off.

Thankfully I was turning wood (a wooden pen) and not steel but I do speak from experience.

Best regards,

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

NEVER remove your hand from the chuck key while it is in the lathe;

I had been machining full time, for 12 years when on a rush job at a new company, for some reason, I started the lathe with the chuck key in it.

It shot straight inro the ground, before any damage to the lathe. me. or anyone else. nobody saw it.
I shook out the solids from my pantleg and carried on.

Parting off;

This time 16 years, full time machining, parting off a doughnut, 4 inch dia. 1 inch bore, chuck key to catch it,

slipped off the chuck key, hit by the 3-jaw, straight up into theair 20ft. shop ceiling, came straight down inbetween the lathes bed's casting openings, cushioned by a bed of chips, No one saw it, or heard it.

Sometimes your good,

sometimes your lucky,

Sometime your dead,

Sometimes you have to live with your mistakes,

It only takes .5 seconds.


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Old 10-06-2008, 02:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

Thirty years ago this month I was turning some journals on a large piece of D-2, if I recall it was about 5 inches in diameter and about 18 inches long. Heavy sucker. Anyway, I'd turned one end and was flipping it around for the other. I had the "free" end sitting in the steady rest, the freshly turned end sitting in the 3-jaw, balanced on the lower jaw. For some reason I'd already taken the sling off the crane and was closing down on the chuck which was still open way too wide for the piece it was holding, I didn't close it down before inserting the turned end.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going, I was steadying the work with my left hand and closing the chuck with my right. The part slipped. My left hand was trapped by about 60 lbs of falling steel. The tip of my index finger was smashed and the burr cut through to the bone. Amazingly I didn't lose the finger. But I do have a nasty thick scar and x-rays still show the gash in the bone.

In the past few weeks I've felt pain in that finger for the first time in 30 years.

I make things.
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

Thank you for the really useful list of safety rules. Most books are a little long winded about them, printing out this list and making it visible in the shop is definitely a good idea.

I would add -

* Learn/know first aid techniques (injury, burn and electrical)
* keep first aid kit visible, labeled and readily available.
* Check first aid kit periodically for burn gauze/cream which expire (replace before expiry date if your shop temperature is regularly higher than 25 degrees Celsius)

In the land of the blind, expect head on collisions.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

One of the big rules in my shop is to announce your presence when you walk into the shop. I do not know how many times I have been working on a machine, and the noise from the machine keeps me from hearing someone that enters the shop. Nothing worse then being startled by someone coming up behind you.


Dale in Belleville, IL
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

Just a couple of things I'd like to add...

1) Add some suggestions as to where phone, first aid kit, and extinguisher should be placed. I'm in the basement and my extinguisher is at the bottom of the stairs so I can get it on the way out or in. (Top of stairs is kitchen and I have access to another extinguisher there.) I have 3 workbenches in a U. Left leg is my desk. Middle is my mini-lathe. Right is my mini-mill. My phone is on the front of the middle bench, 2 ft off the floor and next to my leg when sitting at my desk. Convenient for normal use. My thinking being...I may very well be on the floor and needing a phone. My first aid kit is hung next to the phone in a bright red container with a sign above it, pointing to it, and saying what it is. Same reasons.
2) Very important...everyone in my house knows where these items are and how to use them. The items should be easily identified and found. Staying puckered and screaming are major distractions when you need to find these things.
3) Shop or no shop...many of these rules apply and it doesn't hurt for all family members to know first aid and what to do in an emergency. People who frequently visit should also be aware. It's been mentioned's not just you who can get hurt.

I've seen posts where people seem to worry that they come across too much on safety. Or don't post because they think it's been covered. I like the fact that many posts in this forum (and I'm sure others) include a reminder of the danger or risk and/or a safety tip. Better to distribute information than leave it in one place to be missed.

Thanks...I can't believe how stupid I was when I was younger...and how lucky.
Carl (aka Zee. will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.)

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Old 04-16-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

You might think that handling crucibles of molten metal is a danger but I have never had an accident which threatened injury or damage, proper precautions and eye protection are a must.
However I have had numerous cuts and lacerations through drilling without a vice or clamp on the work-piece.
Far to often I have applied just to much pressure when opening up a smaller hole , lost my grip on the piece and got my desserts.
Another common injury is hitting your hand when using a hammer and chisel , O.K its only a bruise and broken skin but it can hurt like hell , wear gloves.
The answers are obvious , but if you can't immediately lay your hands on gloves , clamps or eye shields you will be tempted to do without so make sure your stuff is where you need it and in a larger workshop invest in extra supplies so that you don't have to hunt for them.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shop Safety rules

I have often been accused of being repressively safety consciousness.
Maybe I am, but I know what it feels like to have novocaine injected
injected into a knuckle in preparation for stitching. I what it is to smell
burnt flesh before you feel the pain of the burn. I know how hard it is
to stare into that blue light and watch a needle coming at my eye to
remove a piece of steel while the Doctor is saying,
"You don't dare move!".

I'm not trying to make machining a scary thing.
I've screwed up many times and paid the price for those mistakes.
I don't want ANYONE else to have to do that!

Call me over safety conscious.
Next time a personal injury calls for a tetanus booster, I'll call YOU!

I HATE needles!


Seriously, how many times can THAT happen in one day?
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