What You Should Know About Safety in Machine Shops


Any sort of manufacturing or metalworking facility has its fair share of safety hazards. Cutting, welding, brazing and milling metals from copper to titanium Mesa AZ involves heavy equipment, which workers must handle responsibly. Whether you're an employee or simply a hobbyist, keep these in mind while at work in the shop.

Moving Parts

The machinery used in metalworking, whether directly or indirectly, presents the most obvious safety hazard for workers. Besides the risk of cuts or crush injuries from getting caught in moving parts, components like saw blades and drills can eject debris at high speeds, potentially inflicting eye injuries. As a rule of thumb, never wear any loose clothing or accessories, keep long hair tied up and always wear safety glasses, gloves, protective footwear and other safety equipment provided.

Airborne Hazards

A less obvious, but more insidious, hazard than the machines themselves comes from the airborne contaminants that metalworking produces. Metal dust, often the result of milling and grinding, damages the lungs over time similar to silica dust and asbestos fibers. Welding also produces toxic fumes containing metal particles, fuel byproducts and gases used for shielding such as argon. Respirators are part of the standard suite of protective equipment required, and facilities should also have proper ventilation and dust collection systems.

The Merits of Good Housekeeping

Many injuries are caused not by the machines themselves, but by an unsafe work environment—slips and falls, fires started by sparks, electrocution by faulty equipment and more. Failing to act when finding an environmental hazard can put workers at risk. Additionally, chronic injuries can arise from repetitive motion and improper lifting while handling equipment or materials. Employees should be encouraged towards good safety practices and habits, and means for providing first aid and maintaining the workspace should be readily available. Being mindful of one's work environment and personal limits can prevent many injuries from happening or becoming more severe.