Here are some key points.
- Electrical and fire hazards may be present in a shop.
- Good housekeeping is a way to help keep a shop safe.
- Dress appropriately, and wear the appropriate PPE.
The importance of a safe shop
- Working in a shop, whether here or at home, may not seem to present many dangers.
- But whether you’re repairing agricultural equipment, welding, or just using the shop for storage, there are certain potential hazards to watch out for. Among them are:
- electrical hazards
- fire hazards
- poor lighting
- inadequate ventilation
- messy or slippery floors
- blocked exits or walkways
- missing machinery guards or shields
Electrical and fire hazards may be present in a shop.
Regularly inspect the fire extinguishers in your shop.
Dress appropriately when working in a shop.
Fire and electrical hazards
- It’s important to regularly check the shop for any fire hazards.
- Fires or explosions can result from the use of power tools or other electrical equipment that overheats or sparks; welding too close to combustible materials; storing oily rags, flammable liquids or other combustible materials in the shop; smoking while painting or operating electrical equipment; painting or welding in an area with inadequate ventilation; or failing to clean up a chemical spill.
- Additional electrical hazards that may result in a fire include overloaded outlets; sparks from electric motors; loose connections; frayed cords; the failure to ground electrical equipment; or using a household-grade extension cord to operate power tools.
- Be sure the shop has a multipurpose fire extinguisher that is regularly inspected and charged. Also, be sure the electrical equipment you operate is double insulated or grounded.
- Know where our first aid kits are located, and what phone number to call in an emergency.
Paying close attention to good housekeeping will help keep a shop safe. Be sure that you:
- remove any trash, packing materials, or other items that shouldn’t be on the floor
- immediately clean up spills, and make sure the floor is dry (See your supervisor if you have not been specifically trained in cleaning up chemical spills.)
- pick up tools and other equipment after each use
- make sure entrances and exits are not blocked
- thoroughly clean your own work area, and sweep the floor before you leave
Other important safety tips
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters when operating power washers or when using tools in damp or wet areas.
- Make sure safety guards and shields are in good repair and in place on all machinery and tools. Don’t use machinery if unguarded.
- Make sure any portable ladders are properly stored and in good repair.
- Dress appropriately, and use personal protective equipment (PPE) when painting, welding or operating other electrical equipment. Appropriate clothes to wear when working in a shop include a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes with non-slip soles. (Steel-toed shoes or boots may be required for some jobs.) PPE may include shielded safety glasses or goggles, earmuffs or earplugs, a face shield, a dust/mist respirator, chemical-resistant gloves, a protective apron, and/or welding shields.
- Make sure any welding is done far away from combustibles and in an area with adequate ventilation.
- Make sure jack stands or blocks are available to safely block equipment.
- Store any chemicals in proper containers with proper labels. Paints and other flammables should be stored in locked chemical storage cabinets.
- Check lighting. Make sure all lights have lens covers.
Shop Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- Keep the shop organized. Make sure everything is in its correct place.
- Inspect chain hoists before each use to make sure they are secure and don’t have cracked links.
- Turn off and unplug electrical equipment when not in use.
- Smoke while working in a shop.
- Store items on steps or on fixed ladders.
- Let children or other unauthorized people in the shop.