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This is a guide or reminder for beginners that are new to workshops and workshop etiquette. In order to stay safe and work effectively, everyone should be on the same page about what is safe conduct in the shops and what is not. Below are important safety practices and why they exist.


  1. Wear workshop appropriate clothing.
    1. Nothing loose or baggy, tie back long hair, no jewelry, watches, rings, etc. Avoid wearing anything that has potential to get caught in a machine. Gloves are also risky for many machines for this reason and are discouraged.
    2. Wear good closed-toed shoes or boots, in the event something heavy like a hammer gets dropped on your feet.
    3. Cotton clothing is best for hot work. Polyester or synthetic clothing tends to melt rather than burn, which can cause more harm to your skin.
  2. Wear proper safety protection with the tool you're using.
    1. Always wear safety glasses in the shops, even when using hand tools, or if you are around others using tools.
    2. Wear ear protection when necessary, and don't tough it out. Hearing loss takes time, and the more times you experience loud noises the faster your hearing will go.
    3. Wear dust-masks during any operation that produces dust, even if the tool has dust collection. Fine particulate entering your lungs can cause respiratory problems, either immediately if it's bad enough, or over a long period of time with frequent exposure.

Power Tools

  1. DO NOT USE ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT TRAINED ON. You risk hurting yourself, the machine, and those around you.
  2. Know what a tool should sound like. Odd noises are an indication that something is wrong in the machine like a broken part or a worn out part.
  3. If a machine is not working properly, stop using it immediately and report it to
  4. Inform other members and the staff if something is not working or broken. Without informing people, other members will not know a machine is unsafe before turning it on.
  5. When in doubt, give a shout. Ask someone for help or advice if you're not sure what the best way to do something is.
  6. READ THE MANUAL. They write these things for a reason. We have many of them collected on google drive here: Tool Manuals
  7. Do not attempt to fix a tool you are not familiar with. If you want to help, ask a volunteer or staff person first.

Hand-held Power Tools

  1. Always be aware of the power cord. You don't want to cut or damage the power cord for the thing you are using.
  2. Be aware of what's behind/under the piece you are working on. Try not to drill or cut into the workbench by using a piece of scrap.

Hand Tools

  1. Safety glasses and gloves are best for most sharp hand tools, or any that involve a lot of force (like a hammer).
  2. Chisels: make sure they are sharp. A dull chisel is more dangerous than a sharp one due to how hard you have to push to get it to work.


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