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Tool and Machine Safety

Machine shops are an integral part of the Cornell University campus.  These shops support the University infrastructure, advance research operations, and are a focus for many student courses and elective activities.  Machine shops can pose a myriad of hazards that must be taken seriously.  Many of the most frequently cited OSHA safety standards pertain to machine safeguarding.  Nearly 45,000 machinery accidents occur each year in industry, causing severe injuries and fatalities.

Basic Shop Safety Rules

  • Users must receive instruction on each piece of equipment prior to using it for the first time.

  • Make sure emergency contact numbers are posted.
  • No loose clothing or jewelry.  Long hair must be secured up.  No open-toed shoes or sandals.
  • Safety glasses are to be worn at all times while machines & tools are in use.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the workshop.
  • Cell phones, mp3 players, and other personal electronic devices must not be used when working at any machine.  Loud music is prohibited. 
  • Users must not undertake any actions that may injure or distract other users or result in damage to equipment or the work of others.  No horseplay allowed in the shop.

A combination of guards (rigid barriers) and devices (interlocks, stop buttons) must be used to protect against the hazards of:

  • Power transmission devices – belts, gears, chains, etc.

  • Points of operation - cutting edges
  • Moving parts – rotary movement, in-running nip points
  • Flying chips/materials

General Machine Safety Rules

  • A machine designed for a fixed location must be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.

  • No equipment is to be left running while unattended.
  • Any damage to the machines, tools, fixtures, etc. must be reported to a supervisor immediately.
  • Machines shall be completely stopped and de-energized before attempting to clear jammed work or debris.

Training Resources

Toolbox Talk

PDF file Angle Grinder Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Band Saw Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Belt Sander Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Chainsaw Safety Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Jigsaw Safety Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Hand and Power Tools Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Material Handling Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Machine Shop Safety Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file String Trimmer Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Table Saw Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Woodworking Machine Safety Toolbox Talk Requires Login