Safety is crucial in a machine shop. No one wants any injuries in the shop. Injured workers can also cost the shop money and time. Injured workers will have medical costs and admin costs for the shop to process the necessary paperwork. If an employee needs to take time off because of an injury, then a shop has to find a replacement. Multiple injuries in a shop can also impact shop morale and lower productivity and could also cause damage to a shop’s reputation. For these and many other reasons, it’s best to keep everyone in your shop safe and injury-free. Below are 5 steps your machine shop can take to proactively keep employees safe.

Retrain Employees

Employees have to go through training for things like using a forklift. It’s important to keep track of when they completed their last training. Is it out of date? Have things changed since certain employees were trained? Are employees having trouble remembering some parts of their training? It might be a good idea to retrain some or all of your employees, particularly if your shop is adding something new. Some common safety issues involve forklifts and proper lockout/tagout procedures, so that might be a good place to start if you decide to retrain your employees.

Keep Machines Safe

The machines in your shop almost certainly have guards in place. However, it’s a good idea to check periodically that those guards are still in the proper place and that they’re still in good working order. It also may be worth making sure that your employees aren’t ignoring the safety guards. Keeping your machines up-to-date on maintenance will also keep them safer for anyone operating them. Make sure you have reminders for when your machines need scheduled maintenance. It may also be helpful to have a system to check when machines are starting to have problems so you can fix them before any problems become bigger and potentially dangerous.

Use Appropriate PPE

safety on the machine shop floor

Different processes or machines have different needed PPE. Make sure everyone who operates machinery, uses chemicals, or any other possibly dangerous activity knows how to wear their PPE and that they have PPE that fits them properly. PPE may include safety glasses, gloves, proper footwear, and earplugs. During the pandemic, employees may need to wear more PPE than usual, so it’s helpful to make sure that they’re wearing gloves, face masks, or anything else they need to keep themselves and others safe.

Make a Culture of Safety

To keep your shop safe, your employees have to feel comfortable telling their manager when something is not safe. In order to make a culture of safety, managers must be willing to listen to safety concerns and act on them quickly. If your employees know that their concerns will be taken seriously and solved quickly, then they’ll be able to see that your shop takes safety seriously and they’ll take it seriously as well. Employees are more likely to wear the correct PPE or use machine guards correctly if they know management requires it.

Keep Current on Safety Items

There are many different safety items your shop may need. If you have dangerous chemicals, including those used for cleaning, they need the appropriate warning labels. If your shop has elevated platforms, you’ll need the appropriate guardrails to prevent falls. Even wet floor signs can be important in preventing a slip and fall. These various safety items are the first step in letting employees know when something might be dangerous and in keeping them safe. Make sure your shop has everything it needs, including if any of it needs to be updated or replaced.

Keeping your shop safe is a big task, but it saves your shop time and money, and it saves your employees from injury. Being proactive with safety measures is the best way to prevent injury. There are fewer opportunities for someone to get hurt if your shop keeps up with guards on the machines, training, and everything else. Proactive safety measures in your shop allow everyone to work without injury, and that’s great for employees and you.

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