A workshop is a hazardous environment. The objective of this procedure is to show you how to follow workplace procedures for hazard identification and avoidance.
Part 1. Preparation and safety
- Follow workplace procedures for hazard identification and avoidance.
Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:
- Work clothing - such as coveralls and steel-capped footwear
- Eye protection - such as safety glasses and face masks
- Ear protection - such as earmuffs and earplugs
- Hand protection - such as rubber gloves and barrier cream
- Respiratory equipment - such as face masks and valved respirators
If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.
- Make sure that you understand and observe all legislative and personal safety procedures when carrying out the following tasks. If you are unsure of what these are, ask your supervisor.
Points to note
- A workshop is a hazardous environment. To make people more aware of specific workshop hazards, legislative bodies, such as the International Safety Organization (ISO), have developed a series of safety signs. These signs are designed to give adequate warning of an unsafe situation.
- Each sign has four components:
- Signal word
- Background color
- Pictorial message
- There are three signal words:
Danger: This indicates an immediately hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury. "Danger" is usually indicated by white text with a red background.
Warning: This indicates a potentially hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury. The sign is usually in black text with an orange background.
Caution: This indicates a potentially hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, may result in minor or moderate injury. It may also be used to alert against unsafe practices. This is usually in black text with a yellow background.
- The sign will sometimes include an explanatory text that is intended to provide additional safety information.
- Some signs are designed to convey a personal safety message. These signs suggest the use of safety glasses or hearing protection when in the area.
- In symbol signs, a pictorial message appears alone or is combined with an explanatory text. This allows the safety message to be conveyed to people who are illiterate or who do not understand the local language.
- Workshop safety equipment includes items such as:
- Hand Rails
- Machinery Guards
- Painted Lines
- Soundproof Rooms
- Gas Extraction Hoses
- Doors and Gates
- Adequate Ventilation
- Large, fixed machinery such as lathes and milling machines present a hazard to the operator and others working in the area. To prevent accidents, a machinery guard or a yellow painted line on the floor usually borders this equipment.
- Machinery guards and yellow lines will prevent people from accidentally walking into the operating equipment or indicate that a safe distance should be kept from the equipment.
- Soundproof rooms are usually used when a lot of noise is made by operating equipment. An example is the use of a chassis dynamometer. A vehicle operating on a dynamometer produces a lot of noise from its tires exhaust and engine. To protect other workshop users from the noise, the dynamometer is usually placed in a soundproof room, keeping workshop noise to a minimum.
- Exhaust gases in workshops are a serious health hazard. Whenever a vehicle's engine is running, toxic gases are produced from its exhaust. To prevent an excess of gas build-up, a well-ventilated work area is needed as well as some method of extracting the toxic gases.
- The best way to get rid of these gases is with a suction hose that fits over the vehicle's exhaust pipe. The hose is attached to an extraction pump that vents the gas to the outside.
- Doors and gates are used for the same reason as machinery guards and painted lines. A doorway is a physical barrier that can be locked and sealed to separate a hazardous environment from the rest of the workshop, or a general work area from an office or specialist work area.
- In the day-to-day operation of a workshop, there is often a reason to temporarily separate one work bay from others. If a welding machine or an oxyacetylene cutting torch is in use, it may be necessary to place a temporary screen or barrier around the work area to protect other workshop users from "welding flash" or injury.
Part 2: Step-by-step instruction
- Workshop layout
Familiarize yourself with your workshop. There are special work areas that are defined by painted lines. These show the hazardous zone around certain machines and areas.
If you are not working specifically on the machines, you should stay outside the marked area.
- Observe warning signs
Study the various warning signs around your workshop. Understand the meaning of the Signal Word, the colors, the text and the symbols or pictures on each sign.
Ask your supervisor if you do not fully understand any part of the sign.
- Identify exits
Find out where every door, window and gate is, and whether they are usually open or locked.
Plan your escape route, should you need to exit in a hurry.
- Check air quality
Check for air quality. There should be good ventilation and very little chemical fumes or smell. Locate the extractor fans or ventilation outlets and make sure they aren’t obstructed in any way.
Locate and observe the use of the exhaust extraction hose, pump and outlet that’s used on the vehicle’s exhaust pipes.
- Identify fire fighting equipment
Check the location and types of fire extinguishers in your workshop.
Be sure you know when to use each type, and how.
- Identify flammable hazards
Find out where flammable materials are kept, and make sure they’re stored properly.
- Identify hazards – Compressed air
Check the hoses and fittings on the air compressor for any damage or excessive wear.
You have to be particularly careful when troubleshooting air guns. Never pull the trigger while inspecting it—severe eye damage can result.
- Identify hazards – Corrosives
Find out which liquids will burn or corrode parts, metals or skin.
Identify caustic chemicals and acids associated with activities in your workshop.
- Personal protection
Be aware that YOU could be a hazard in the workshop, if you don’t wear mandatory protective gear when working on hazardous machines.
- Equipment hazards
Ask your supervisor for information on any special hazards in your particular workshop, and any special avoidance procedures, which may apply to you and your working environment.