Most engineering colleges across the globe include workshop training in the first year, which is common for all engineering disciplines,
be it mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. The basic aim of such courses is to make students familiar with industry practices and help them understand the basics of working in a workshop. When new employees start working in a workshop they will see that certain guidelines are often posted on the walls. These guidelines might not suit a young engineer or a new worker but they are very important to follow, to understand, and to implement in the daily work schedule. Improved efficiency, reduced security threats, and symmetrical proceedings of work are some of the advantages of following the workshop practices.
Common Mechanical Workshop Safety Rules
Different workshops have different work practices and different machines; however, there are certain rules that apply to any mechanical workshop of the world.
- Always wear safety gear while working in the workshop. Hand gloves, safety shoes, helmets and eyeglasses are mandatory for workshops jobs like plumbing, machine fitting, welding or carpentry. For instance, some people do not wear welding glasses while dealing with welding works. This might result in temporary or permanent blindness because welding sparks can destrot the tissues of the human eye.
- Malfunctioning machines can occur any time. It could happen during the process of screw tightening or replacing the motor of the machine. Irrespective of the type of break down, never try to work on it while the machine is on and running. Electrical components always have a scope of error, irrespective of their design, make or technology. Even if the break down is normal and requires just screw tightening, it is always advisable to switch off the machine and then do the repair. Electrical shocks can be fatal or at least be capable of damaging human cells due to the workshop machines very high power rating.
- While dealing with vehicles, always ensure that common safety guidelines are observed. Pull the hand brake, choke the rear wheels, and fit fender covers. Always jack the vehicle on a hard surface else use spreading blocks for load spreading.
- Non-slip mats should be used in front of machines where necessary, and machines should be sensibly placed to avoid overcrowding and suitably anchored to vibration.
- Maintain all the service records of machines and equipment. It will not only save time but also help you to take care of repetitive break downs.
- All the tools and accessories must be kept back at their relevant places. Placing them anywhere will lead to chaos and inefficient working.
- Smoking and drinking should be prohibited in the workshop.
- The gangway through the workshop must be kept clear. Any grease or oil spillage must be cleaned on a regular basis.
Safety and Fire Precautions
Workshops are prone to accidents in general but fire can be the most deadly. Injury drills are an integral part of workshops and they help employees avoid them, an in the case that there is one having a prepared staff is the best way to minimize the damage done. These are some of the rules and guidelines that help keep a check on injuries and accidents.
- Always take part in mock security drills. Workshops are enclosed structures, at the time of emergency you may find yourself stuck. Whenever mock security drills are conducted, participate in them because that is the best way to prepare you for emergencies.
- Before commencing any welding operations, make sure that an appropriate fire extinguisher is readily accessible. All the workers must know how to use fire extinguishers, although clear instructions are always written on them. Inflammable materials must always be accompanied with fire extinguishers.
- One must know the difference between water extinguishers and carbon dioxide extinguishers and when to use them as well. For electrical fires, water extinguishers should not be used. Proper training is advised so that no confusion arises at the time of emergency.
- Dealing with chemicals requires extra safety because chemicals have contagious effects and they can spread from one person to another. Washing hands, wearing gloves and masks, and using barrier creams are all advisable. At the very first glimpse of any skin or respiration disorder, consult a doctor.
- Working with toxic materials like lead, manganese, and nickel etc. also requires special attention because these materials have long term adverse effects on human health. Metalworking fluids can also cause health issues like occupational asthma. Ensure all the exhaust fans and respirators are working properly before you start working with chemically hazardous substances.
- Most importantly, every person inside the workshop must know the contact number of ambulance and fire services.
Above all, safety is the primary concern. Secondly, improving work efficiency with minimum hassles is what workshop managers would like to achieve. If the above mentioned safety guidelines and work rules are observed and followed carefully, one can achieve both the targets. It is always important to stay prepared for medical or accidental emergency because trouble never comes announced and that's what mechanical workshop safety rules do.
- Workshop Safety Guidelines, University of Wollongong (pdf)
- Health and Safety Policy, University of Edinburgh (pdf)
- Standard Workshoop Practices, Fordscorpio.co.uk(pdf)