Maintaining a Safe Shop Environment

Safety First

All employees are responsible for promoting and adhering to shop safety to protect themselves and others from injury. In order to prevent injuries and equipment damage, keeping equipment in proper condition and maintaining safe working environments are crucial.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specified and designed to protect employees from the hazards associated with shop equipment, materials and activities. Your shop policy may require the use of the following:

  • Hearing protection (ear plugs or earmuffs)
  • Eye/face protection (safety glasses or face shield)
  • Head protection (hard hat)
  • Hand protection (gloves)
  • Foot protection (steel toe shoes)
  • Proper clothing (arc flash rated, welding jacket, or chemical handling protection)
  • Respiratory protection (dust masks or respirators)

Electrical SafetyElectrical Safety

Electrical Safety ensures that equipment and connected wiring is safe enough to prevent injuries and/or equipment damage. In order to protect your employees and facility, proper hazard awareness and protection training presentations should be made. Additionally, equipment should be properly grounded and extension cords should include ground wires. You should also replace all damaged, frayed or deteriorated cords. When using extension cords, only use ones that are rated for the load, grounded and placed safely. Before and during equipment service, always be sure to use your Lock Out/Tag Out program to remove all stored energy. Finally, keep clear access to electrical panels and only complete tasks in electrical panels when you are de-energized, wearing proper PPE, authorized to do so and trained accordingly.

Machinery Safety Basics

Always make sure that your equipment is in proper condition and ready for safe operation, only using equipment on which you are properly trained and authorized to use. Additionally, ensure guards are in place, and safety devices are appropriately installed and operating correctly. Proper Lock Out/Tag Out protocols should also be followed when adjusting or servicing equipment. Finally, you should always keep your equipment clean so that you can properly use it and identify possible problems before they occur.

Portable Tools & Equipment

When using portable tools, it is critical to store and maintain them appropriately. To prevent electrical shock, never use tools with frayed or damaged cords, never carry tools by their cords and always ground tools when in use. Likewise, extension cords should be rated for tool load and never be overloaded, piggybacked or used for permanent installations. Use ground fault protected circuits when required. When replacing blades, tools, drills and cutters, only do so when equipment is unplugged or all power is removed.

Hazardous Substances

Many workplaces require the use of PPE when handling and storing liquids, gases and solids to prevent release, spill and injury during use. Be and knowledgeable about the items you are handling and know what to do if a gas release or liquid spill occurs.  If a release or spill occurs, take appropriate steps for containment, first aid and notification as required in your safety plan.  Don’t take chances or short cuts that can result in further harm or damage.

Fire ExtinguisherExamples of dangerous liquids, gases and solids can include:

  • Paint, paint thinner and solvents
  • Parts cleaner solvents
  • Oils, greases and lubricants
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Oxygen and acetylene
  • Metal chips, blades, dirt and glass
  • Steam and compressed gasses
  • Hot or cold objects
  • Heavy or elevated objects

Safe Practices

It is everyone’s responsibility to work safely and be aware of surroundings. A moment of distraction is all it takes to be involved in an injury, which is why it is important to focus on your activity, avoid distractions, keep your footing secure, maintain a good working position and know how to properly use your equipment. Always be aware of emergency plans and locations of exits, fire extinguishers and power shutoffs, keeping open access to these things at all times. Sustain an emergency kit complete with eye wash/shower station, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, etc. and maintain a clean working area to prevent slips, falls, cuts and bruises. Distractions and horseplay should not be tolerated, as they can result in severe injury.


Depending on the equipment and work performed in your shop location, various programs may be implemented to ensure workplace safety. Programs may include the following:

  • Lock Out/Tag Out
  • Electrical safety
  • Arc flash training
  • Equipment guarding
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Emergency preparedness and evacuation plans
  • Spill prevention control and countermeasures plan (SPCC)
  • Storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP)
  • Welding permits
  • Confined space entry permits
  • Material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • Good manufacturing practices (GMPs)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Dust collection and VOC removal

Take the time to consider the environment in which you work and possible issues that can result in injury.  Bring up issues to your manager and make sure the shop is a safe working place. At Kaman, we offer green technology to reduce impact of some hazards and programs/services to improve your work environment.  Let your Kaman representative know if we can help you achieve your safe shop goals.


Note: This post is intended to provide a basic awareness of shop safety practices and is in no way a substitute for the specific safety program, designed to protect employees from actual hazards, employed at your shop.

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Tim Tiebert
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One Reply to “Maintaining a Safe Shop Environment”

  1. Thanks for pointing out that making sure to replace frayed or damaged cords can help avoid electrical accidents. I think it would also be smart to have an industrial electrician come and do routine maintenance on things to make sure it was all running the way it was supposed to. Doing those two things would probably help make sure that everyone could be safer and that everything would work more efficiently.

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