Virginia Tech® home

General Machine Shop Safety Checklist

Machine Shop Safety Quick links


  • Is the owner’s manual for each machine stored at the shop?
  • Are all machines that are designed for a fixed location (ex. drill presses) securely anchored to prevent walking, tipping, or moving?
  • Is sufficient clearance (3-foot minimum) provided around and between machines to allow for safe operations, set-up and servicing, materials handling, and waste removal?
  • Are machines properly grounded?

Maintenance and repair

  • Is there a regular safety inspection of each piece of machinery or equipment?
  • Have maintenance workers received up-to-date instruction on the machines they service?
  • Are maintenance and servicing workers trained in the requirements of lockout/tagout hazards, and are the procedures for lockout/tagout evaluated or developed before they attempt their tasks?
  • Do maintenance workers lockout the machine from its power sources before beginning repairs?
  • Do maintenance workers have electrical plug locks or disconnect switches?
  • Where several maintenance persons work on the same machine, are multiple lockout devices used?
  • Do maintenance persons use appropriate and safe equipment in their repair work?
  • Is the maintenance equipment itself properly guarded?

Machine guarding

  • Are guards in place to protect against point of operation, nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks?
  • Are guards positioned and functioning correctly?  Guards must be affixed to the machine where possible, or anchored securely elsewhere otherwise.
  • Are guards in place for gears, sprockets, pulleys, belts, and flywheels?
  • Are coolant splash guards in place to prevent employee exposure?
  • Are machine guards secure, functioning, and so arranged such that they do not present a hazard themselves?
  • Are revolving drums, barrels, and containers guarded by an enclosure interlocked with the drive mechanism so that revolution cannot occur unless the guard enclosure is in place?

Machine operations

  • Are start, stop, and other operating controls within the operator’s easy reach?
  • Are emergency stop buttons colored red?
  • Is a standard operating procedure (SOP) available for the machine and located at the machine?
  • Is there adequate supervision to ensure that shop users are following safe machine operating procedures?
  • Are foot-operated switches guarded or arranged to prevent accidental actuation by personnel or falling objects?
  • Are manually operated valves and switches guarded or arranged to prevent accidental actuation by personnel or falling objects?

Contact Information

Robin McCall-Miller, Occupational Safety Engineer