General rules

  • Do not operate equipment you are unfamiliar with. Seek help from shop staff. The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.
  • Only one person should operate a machine at any one time. Consultation at the machine is allowed, but only one set of hands should be on the machine.
  • Never work by yourself. Another person must be in the machine shop area (student or professional). It is unsafe and also against the law.
  • Do not sit while operating machines.
  • Never leave a machine running and unattended.
  • Machines must be shut off to remove tools and setups.
  • Machines should be off and tools removed before cleaning.
  • Do not work in the shop if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, tired, or in a hurry.
  • Horseplay is forbidden. Please use common sense. No loud noises and yelling while others are working with the equipment.
  • Read and obey all operational signs and warnings.
  • Do not try to stop machines with your hands (lathe chucks and drill press chucks). Wait for them to come to a stop.
  • Concentrate on your work. Distractions cause injury.
  • Report all broken tools and equipment to lab personnel.
  • Do not use broken or dull tools.
  • Always clamp work pieces in the machine.
  • Always use a brush or hook to remove chips from a running machine. Never use your fingers.
  • Keep precision measurement tools away from the machine tables. No chips or coolant on them.
  • Adhere to the rules governing each individual machine.

Body protection

safety goggles

Source: Mechanical Engineering

Safety is always the first priority.


  • Always use eye protection when entering the shop and keep glasses/goggles covering your eyes for the duration of your stay.
  • Eye protection is available in the main office HHC-124 and at the door of HHC-109. Both safety glasses and goggles are available. Prescription glasses with safety lenses are allowed if you have side shields.
  • Use face shields when grinding.
  • Use approved UV welding helmets/glasses when welding or observing the welding process. It is your responsibility if welding to make sure observers are protected before striking an arc.


  • Closed toe shoes are required to enter the shop area. No sandals or flip flops.
  • Short pants and skirts are prohibited.
  • Do not wear rings, watches, or necklaces while operating equipment.
  • No loose fitting clothing that can be caught by rotating equipment.
  • Long sleeves must be rolled up to the elbow.
  • Long hair must be tied back and/or contained. Caps are encouraged for containing long hair. Pony tails must be long enough to be put down your shirt, otherwise they must be contained.


  • Do not remove machine guards.
  • Do not wear gloves while operating equipment. 
  • Do wear gloves to handle sheet metal.
  • Keep hands away from sharp tools.  
  • Use chip brushes for removing chips.
  • Use of iPods or any kind of wired earphones is prohibited.

Housekeeping: everyone’s responsibility

  • Clean up your work area. You should leave it cleaner than you found it.
  • Remove chips and debris from benches and machines. Always use chip brushes and brooms to clean up chips. They are sharp and easily cause cuts.
  • Remove tools from the machine when finished and return them to their appropriate storage area.
  • Do not use compressed air to clean machines.
  • Keep floors free of debris and spills.
  • When cleaning machines after use, use chip brushes to remove most of the debris. Then use a rag to clean the remnants. Pay special attention to the bare metal parts of the machine (guide ways).
  • If you use a machine to cut wood, always meticulously clean the machine when done, finishing the job by spraying WD-40 and wiping clean to remove all sawdust.

Repeated failure to adhere to the housekeeping rules will be subject to temporary removal of machine shop privileges at the discretion of the shop supervisor. 

Drill press safety

Lathe safety

  • Never leave the chuck wrench in the chuck unattended.
  • Never us a rag near a turning lathe.
  • Inspect tool bits to make sure they are sharp and not chipped before using.
  • Never turn off a lathe with the feed engaged except in emergency situations.
  • Do not grasp or touch chips or turnings with your fingers. Use extreme care removing chips while the machine is running. It is safer to turn off the lathe before clearing chips.
  • Minimize tool extension to obtain maximum tool rigidity.
  • If you need to change chucks, obtain assistance from shop staff.
  • Move the tool bit a safe distance from the chuck when inserting or removing work. 
  • Don't run the machine faster than the proper cutting speed—consult a speed and feed table to determine the best speed or ask shop staff.
  • When setting up a tool, be sure there are no possible collision points of tooling or holders with the machine.
  • Ensure that tool bits are set on center of the part.
  • Never file without a handle on the lathe.
  • When polishing on a lathe never double over the paper. It must be held in both hands.
  • Stop the machine before taking measurements. 
  • Before cleaning the lathe, remove tools from the tool post and tailstock.