Basic Shop Safety Rules


A workshop can be both an exciting and intimidating place to work. Accidents happen often, and while some are unavoidable, many can be prevented through practicing simple shop safety. If you have a basic understanding of the rules of working in a shop, you'll better be able to recognize the danger signs and keep yourself safe.

Clothing & Hair

Aways wear long pants when working in a shop. Additionally, it is important to wear closed-toe shoes. This does not necessarily mean sneakers, as they are usually made of material that would not stop a loose nail from going through them and jabbing your foot. A good pair of work shoes with a hard sole is important. Stay away from skirts or dresses, and anything with billowy sleeves. Loose material runs a risk of getting caught in machinery. This rule holds true for jewelry--take off necklaces and bracelets before you get to work. Additionally, if you have long hair, you should always tie it back. Loose locks can also get caught in the machines, and the results can be nasty and painful, if not fatal.

Safety Gear

Everyone working in a shop should wear safety goggles at all times, no matter the project. Ear protection such as ear plugs need to be worn when loud machinery is being operated. This holds true even if you are not the person operating the machinery. If you are working with toxic fumes or chemicals, you should wear at minimum a paper mask, and preferably a proper respirator. A well-maintained shop should keep a supply of safety equipment onsite. However, they are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase if you must supply your own.

Operating Machinery

The equipment in a shop is loud and dangerous: Even professionals who have been working for years might lose the tip of a finger or put an eye out if they are not careful. Before using a piece of equipment, make sure that you understand all components of it. If possible, have someone who has worked with the equipment before show you how it is done. If something feels wrong--the machine is off-balance or a key component seems to be missing--don't use it, When you are finished using a machine, turn it off and unplug it or disconnect it from the power source.

About this Author

Jan DeVille is a writer, photographer, and video editor/videographer. Her work has appeared in numerous publications over the last five years, including Relix Magazine and Real Simple Magazine. DeVille graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism. She currently lives and works in Nashville.