Shop Safety Manual

The University of California Shop Safety Manual is a resource to assist you in developing a comprehensive shop safety program. The handbook contains essential safety information that you need for working in a shop. 

What is a shop?
A shop space, or technical area, is defined as any location where one of the following activities occurs:
  • Metal working (sheet metal forming, machining, grinding, cutting, forging, heat-treating, welding, brazing or soldering).
  • Carpentry and woodworking (cutting, sanding, carving, planning and gluing)
  • Surface modification and coating (sandblasting, painting, surface preparation, laminating and etching)
  • Glass work (glass blowing, glazing, annealing, tempering, bonding, grinding, and hot-work with glass materials)
  • Electrical / electronic work (equipment building, circuit design and building, wiring, and control system building or repair)
  • Plastics work (machining, burning, bonding, cutting, gluing and melting)
  • Equipment Development / Model Building work (machine or model building, hydraulics building / use, compressed air use, and equipment repairs)
  • Rock and Geological Sampling

Shop worker

All employees and other shop users working in a shop area must comply with all applicable health and safety regulations, policies, and work practices. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  1. Becoming “Qualified” and then “Authorized” to safely work in a UC shop without escort or direct oversight
  2. Using personal protective equipment (PPE) where required
  3. Actively participating in all required safety and health training
  4. Requesting information relating to job safety whenever needed
  5. Learning about the potential hazards of assigned tasks and work areas
  6. Observing health and safety-related signs, posters, warnings, and directions
  7. Warning co-workers about defective equipment and other hazards
  8. Reporting any unsafe or unhealthy conditions immediately to a supervisor, and stopping work if it poses an imminent hazard
  9. Reporting all work-related injuries and illnesses promptly to their supervisor
  10. Cooperating with accident investigations to determine the root cause
  11. Participating in shop safety inspections, committees or other safety-management initiatives.

Supervisor / Manager

Supervisors / Shop Managers play a key role in the implementation of the IIPP and are responsible for the following:

  1. Encouraging a safe work culture by modeling and enforcing safe work practices
  2. Demarcate “Restricted Areas” (high hazard areas) in their shop that are “controlled access” areas in which only “Authorized Persons” are allowed to freely work without supervision or escort.
  3. Completing periodic (quarterly as best practice, semi-annual at a minimum), inspections of shops under their direction
  4. Stopping work that poses an imminent hazard
  5. Implementing measures to eliminate or control workplace hazards
  6. Developing safe work procedures such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and job safety analyses (JSAs)
  7. Providing appropriate safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees and visitors under their supervision
  8. “Authorizing” any shop user to work in the shop without escort or direct oversight
  9. Ensuring employee training and shop safety activities are documented
  10. Reporting and investigating work related injuries and illnesses of their direct-reports
  11. Encouraging employees to report health and safety issues without fear of reprisal
  12. Disciplining employees who do not comply with safe work practices
  13. Communicating all health and safety issues to personnel working in their area of oversight. 
Management / PIs / Deans / Department Chairs

Department managers must ensure that an IIPP is implemented in all areas under their scope of responsibility, including “shops” and “engineering and other labs with shop-work activities”.  They must establish a process, such as a Safety Committee or Shop Safety Program Manager, to maintain, update, and implement the IIPP safety program in shops under their purview. They must assign the responsibility of managing a “shop” and/or “engineering and other lab area with shop-work activities” to a specific individual who is referred to throughout this reference manual as the “Supervisor / Shop Manager” of a defined area also referred to throughout this reference manual as a “shop”.

UC SHARK (Safety Hazard Assessment & Resource Kit)
UC Shop Safety Manual
UC Performing Arts Safety Manual
Hazard Communication
Hearing Conservation
Hot Work
Illness & Injury Prevention Program 
Ladder Safety
Lockout / Tagout
Personal Protective Equipment
Respiratory Protection
Frayed wiring, daisy chained cords, and improper use (overloaded) multi outlet strips. Faulty electrical equipment, worn wiring, damaged receptacles and connectors, and unsafe electrical cabling.

Hot Works
Any process that can be a source of ignition when flammable material is present or can be a fire hazard regardless of the presence of flammable material in the shop. Common hot work processes found in the shop are:

  • Welding
  • Cutting
  • Brazing
  • Soldering
  • Grinding

Heating devices (devices that become hot or produce flame) should be set up on a sturdy fixture and away from any ignitable materials (such as flammable solvents, paper products and other combustibles). Do not leave open flames unattended. Heating devices, and other electrical equipment, should not be installed near safety showers, eye washes, or other water spraying apparatus due to electrical shock concerns and potential splattering of hot water or breakage of hot glass. Post “Caution: High Temperature” signs to warn people of the heat hazard near hot assemblies and to prevent burns

Repetitive Motion
Ergonomic Risk Factors
Ergonomic injuries related to manual material handling and repetitive motions lead the list of work-related injuries.  Ergonomic risk factors include repetitive tasks, such as using a screwdriver or utility knife repeatedly over several hours, or standing or sitting in an awkward or static posture. Manual material handling is another significant risk factor. If materials are not lifted or handled properly, individuals are at risk of sprains, strains and injuries related to overexertion. Other risk factors are contact stress and forceful exertion. It’s important to fit the work to the human, as much as possible, rather fitting the human to the work.  Adjustable work surfaces and seating, cushioning hard edges, and using proper tools are some examples of fitting the work to the human.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Wet floors, spills, and clutter can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Good housekeeping will eliminate most of these types of incidents.  Follow the good housekeeping tips shown on your screen and remember, slips, trips and falls are one of the most common incidents and can easily result in serious injuries. If you see a condition that might lead to a slip, trip or fall, take actions to correct it, or alert everyone in the shop to its presence and notify the Shop Supervisor for assistance.

Unattended operations
The University strongly discourages leaving a shop operation unattended. In all cases where unattended operations occur, you must develop a standard operating procedure.

  • Post a sign on the door
  • Make sure all other shop members are aware of the operation and safe termination procedures
  • Ensure all hose connections are secure and electrical and other connections pose minimal risk
  • Ensure proper drainage for operations requiring running water; use re-circulated water for cooling
  • Provide override control and automatic shutdown to prevent system failure that can result in fire or explosion
  • All unattended electrical heating equipment should have a manual reset over-temperature shut-off switch

Working alone
Working alone in a shop technical area requires prior approval by the Shop Manager or Supervisor. For work that will be unsupervised during normal hours. For after hour work on a case-by-case basis. High hazard work should not be preformed alone. 

  1. Get signed off by your campus specific procedure
  2. Receive proper training on all equipment that will be used
  3. Have a reliable way to communicate with shop Manager, Supervisor, or Monitor
  4. Check in regularly
Burns: TBD
Bruises: TBD
Chemical exposure: TBD
Cuts, Scrapes, Lacerations, or Amputations: The body or limb connects with exposed cutting surfaces. To avoid injury: Ensure equipment guards present and properly positioned; keep your hands clear of the cutting surfaces; and use a push stick or similar device to keep fingers and hands away from blades.
Eye injuries: Flying debris or items from cutting, grinding, or welding. To avoid injury: Wear appropriate eye protection at all times (ANSI rated safety glasses, goggles, and/or face shield when greater protection is needed); Use eye shields; and Keep tool guards in place, mounted and in good condition.
Hearing loss: Fans, Compressed Air. To avoid injury: Ensure tools and equipment are properly maintained all blades are sharp and in good condition; and Wear hearing protection devices.
Muskuloskeletal disorders: Excessive bending, lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling.

Electrical Safety
  • Do not work on live conductors carrying 50 volts or greater without being a qualified electrical worker
  • Restrict access to electrical equipment
  • Maintain good housekeeping
  • Avoid overloading circuits
  • Select, inspect, and use extension cords properly. Never use extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring
  • Be aware of GFCI, and know when they should be used
  • Learn about lockout/tagout
  • Know where to go for more information about electrical safety and lockout/tagout
  • Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations for using electrical equipment
  • Do not use electrical equipment to perform a task for which it is not designed
  • For optimum safety, use electrical equipment that has either a 3-pronged plug or double insulation
  • Make sure that any outlet near (within 6 feet) a sink or other water source is Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected
  • Do not disable any electrical safety feature
  • Before turning equipment on, check that all power cords are in good condition - no frayed cords, separated plugs, etc.
  • Do not “daisy-chain” extension cords or power strips
  • If you see a person being electrocuted, do not touch them, call 911 immediately
  • Only “Qualified Persons” may work on, or “practice”, EI-LOTO on equipment.
  • All equipment must be blocked and locked out to protect against accidental or inadvertent operation when such operation could cause injury to personnel.
  • Never attempt to operate any switch, valve, or other energy isolating device bearing a lock placed by someone else.
  • Never remove a blocking device until all personnel, tools and obstructions have been cleared from the area, and all equipment guards have been properly reinstalled.
  • Once EI-LOTO is in place, ALWAYS VERIFY electricity and other energy sources are dead-off in conductors using a volt meter, or piping using pressure gages, or verify bleed valves are open, prior to commencing work.
  • If the equipment or system must remain energized during work, contact EH&S Safety Engineering to assist in developing adequate alternative hazard control measures, such as the use of suitable temporary barriers, special tools and personal protective equipment, prior to commencing work.
  • Develop and/or verify an EI-LOTO procedure and confirm it applies to the equipment you’re working on prior to start.
  • Follow the EI-LOTO procedure as it is written, unless you discover needed updates to the procedure as you implement it.