Workshop Safety

Objective: To develop and maintain safe working conditions in all workshops where electric, pneumatic or hydraulic type of machinery are operated.

Field of application: All workshops located on McGill University owned or leased property, including carpentry, welding, plumbing, or any other type of shops where professional technicians, professors or students use machinery in their daily tasks or in their learning process.

Personnel concerned: All McGill University staff, professors and students who use machinery in any of the Workshops.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • Workshop supervisor: Each workshop supervisor is responsible to maintain their machinery in good working condition and must ensure that each machine is equipped with all required safety devices, including guards and emergency stop. The supervisor will make sure that each machine is inspected at least once per month and that any deficiency in terms of working condition and / or missing or damaged safety devices is corrected promptly and that the machine is locked out until necessary repairs are completed. The supervisor will ensure that each machine user is properly trained before permitting use of a machine and that the user wears the appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) when operating the machine.
  • Machine user: Each machine user, including workshop supervisors, professors and students, is responsible to acquire the knowledge on how to operate a machine before operating it, and to apply best operating practices including McGill University’s “Basic General Safety Rules for Machine Guarding”. Each user is responsible to report any defect on a machine, and to clean the work station and the machine after completing the work.


  • Training: The content of training for each specific type of machinery must be available in writing and / or in electronic version. Personnel training records in each Department must be available, up to date and accessible to workshop supervisors.
  • Reports: Machine Inspection reports and Machine Repair reports must be documented and kept on file for a minimum period of two years.

Basic General Safety Rules for Machine Guarding:

  1. Each machine has its own characteristics and presents specific hazards that you must know before you can operate it. Therefore make sure you have received proper training on how to safely operate the machine prior to using it.
  2. When you use a machine for the first time, you must be accompanied by a experienced technician who will assist you and make sure that you know and apply the appropriate safety rules.
  3. Before the equipment is started, inspect the condition of the machine and proper setting of the guards, locate the emergency stop button, check the state of the electrical cord, make sure the danger zone is not accessible, verify that the machine is stable and it will not move or tilt over when in operation.
  4. Make sure the work station is clean and that the working environment will remain safe and free of dust or other emission after the machine is in operation.
  5. Put on the appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) before the equipment is started.
  6. Advise the workshop supervisor before starting the work if you are to use a machine in a work room where you are alone.
  7. Advise the workshop supervisor immediately if a machine is defective or if a safety device is missing or damaged; DO NOT operate the machine.
  8. Use the appropriate machine for the work to be done.
  9. Verify that adjustable guards are attached and positioned properly before starting the machine.
  10. Clean up the work station and the machine after the work is completed. When a machine or work station is to be cleaned with compressed air, the compressed air pressure must be set at a pressure that is lower than 200 kPa (29 psi).
  11. Locate the nearest first aid kit, eye wash station, safety shower, emergency exit route and be aware of the emergency phone number.
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