11. Workshop safety

Health and safety guidance on Workshop Safety.

Safety in the workshops is subject to a number of various risk assessments and safe codes of working practices which have to be observed and adhered to by all workshop users and enforced by the person in charge of these areas.  Due to high risk activities taking place in the workshops access to these areas is restricted to authorised personnel only. No other person may enter the workshops without permission.


Workshop equipment and tools

  • No machine may be used or work undertaken unless the technician-in-charge is satisfied that the person is capable of doing so safely. If equipment is fitted with guards these must be used. Equipment must never be used if the safety guards have been removed.
  • Any person working in the mechanical and electronic workshop must have read and signed the appropriate risk assessment if the work or equipment they are using has been risk assessed. Risk assessments are kept in a filing cabinet within the mechanical workshop (B.128).
  • No person shall mount any abrasive wheel unless he/she has been trained in accordance with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Grinding machines shall only be operated by technical staff and eye protection must be worn.
  • Service records of all machine tools, plant and equipment must be kept. They must list the date of any service/repair and name of the person responsible for carrying out that service/repair. Faults which cannot be repaired immediately should be reported to the technician-in-charge and a note should be attached to the machine where it is clearly visible indicating that the equipment is out of order.
  • All Portable Electrical Equipment must be regularly inspected and tested for electrical safety. 
  • Lifting equipment must be registered with the University’s Engineering Insurers and be subject to annual inspection.
  •  All air receivers must be subject to a thorough examination at the statutorily required intervals. 
  • Where applicable suitable Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) must be used. The LEV systems must be subjected to a thorough inspection and test at least once every 14 months.
  • Ladders/stepladders should be individually identified and formal inspections carried out.
  • No welding may be undertaken unless the technician-in-charge is satisfied that the person is capable of doing so safely. During any welding operation the fume extraction system must be used.
  • When using woodworking machines the dust extractor and face masks must be used.
  • Equipment must be cleaned after use. Any materials, tools or equipment used must be tidied away.
  • Precision measuring equipment, drills, etc. must be replaced in their appropriate cabinets after each working day.
  • Tools and equipment must not be removed from the workshop without permission from the technician-in-charge.


Workshop practices and personal protective equipment

  • Eating and drinking in the mechanical workshop areas are strictly prohibited.
  • When working with machine tools or other equipment with rotating spindles, jewellery, loose clothing etc. are prohibited and long hair must be completely covered. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is supplied and must be used where necessary. Barrier cream, lab coats/overalls, eye and hearing protection, dust masks and safety shoes must be used as the work/risk assessment dictates.
  • Lab coats/overalls and safety boots must be worn by technicians operating the machines. 
  • The gangway through the workshop must be kept clear. Any oil spillage, grease etc. must be cleaned up immediately.


Lone and out of hours working

No lone working with hazardous equipment and/or materials is permitted. Such work can only be undertaken when there are at least  two staff present in the workshop.

Work cannot be carried out outside normal working hours if there is only one person in the workshop. Any exception from this rule will depend on the outcome of the risk assessment and the nature of work to be undertaken.


Related Informatics risk assessment

Generic mechanical and electronic workshop risk assessments

Reviewed: 26/05/22 dch