Yale Student’s Tragic Death Prompts a Shop Safety Review

Yale Student’s Tragic Death Prompts a Shop Safety Review.

The safety rules they list in the article are all just commonsense but it is so easy to be distracted.

Shop Machine-Operating Safety

Never wear loose clothing, gloves or any type of garment that can become entangled in any moving machinery. Tuck in shirttails and roll up sleeves, or wear a close-fitting industrial garment (such as coveralls, an industrial apron or a shop coat) that cannot be entangled by a moving machine part or the workpiece.

Remove jewelry, including watches, rings, necklaces and bracelets.

Tie long hair into a ponytail and secure the ponytail in a bun under a cap, a helmet or other protective headgear.

Wear eye protection. Even when wearing a face shield, wear safety glasses. Put on your safety glasses when you enter the shop and don’t take them off until you leave the shop.

When using wood or cold chisels, carving knives or any sharp cutting or marking tool, direct the force away from your body or hands, so that if the tool slips, you won’t be harmed.

Before operating a machine, ensure that all guards are present on the machine and that any blade, bit, abrasive disc or wheel used on it is in good working order.

Before beginning work on a machine, ensure that all machine controls and work surfaces are clear of dust, debris, dirt, grease or tools. Do not use machine beds or surfaces as work surfaces—use work benches to perform these operations.

Never distract an operator. Approach the operator only after the machine has been shut off and the workpiece has stopped moving or machine parts have stopped moving.

Don’t be distracted while you operate a machine. Concentrate on the work at hand and don’t talk to others in the shop while you are operating the machine. Do not mix alcohol or medication with machinery.

Mark the operator zone on the floor surrounding the machine. No one, other than the operator, should be present within that boundary while work is being performed on that machine.

Keep a safe clearance between yourself and any spinning bit, blade, abrasive disc or grinding wheel. For example, always use a push stick to keep your hand from coming close to a spinning table-saw blade, and never position your hands in the same vertical plane as the blade.

Never try to stop a free-spinning workpiece with a tool or your hand. Never stop a spinning machine part, such as a chuck, disc, blade or bit.

Allow a machine to come to a complete stop before making major adjustments (i.e., adjustments that involve more than turning a hand wheel or rotating a speed-control dial).

Do not use compressed air to clean stationary machines or the workpiece during operation or maintenance, because this technique can send sharp metal, dust or other debris flying. Instead, use a shop brush and, where appropriate, a shop vacuum.

Safe Shop-Keeping Practices

Light the shop area evenly, from above and from the sides.

Stabilize workbenches so they don’t shift under load or while performing work operations.

Sweep floors and aisles so they are clear of sawdust, metal chips, filings or any debris that could cause someone to slip. Stop work periodically to clean the floor and clear off workbenches.

Position a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit in a location that is easily and rapidly accessible.

Heating, cooling or ventilation should be appropriate to the workspace. That is, heaters, blowers and fan motors should not pose a risk of combustion to solvents, chemicals or combustible gases. In an enclosed shop space, never use a combustion heater that is not rated for indoor use.

Improve slippery concrete floor surfaces with nonslip coatings, floor mats or abrasive tape.

Store combustibles in a metal cabinet rated for flammable-materials storage.

Soak oily rags in water and dispose of them as soon as possible, or dispose of them in a sealed-lid trash can rated for oily-waste disposal. Oily rags can catch fire when piled haphazardly in a bin.

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