Shop and Maker Space Safety

Updated May 15, 2024

University personnel, students and visitors in shops and maker spaces may be exposed to hazardous machinery, physical hazards, hazardous materials or procedures that could result in injury.

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) provides resources for shops and maker spaces to help address the health and safety issues they may encounter.

Develop a Shop Safety Plan

Units and departments are responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining a Shop Safety Plan for each shop and maker space within their organization that includes all the plan elements described on this page.

Follow these steps to develop a shop-specific plan:

  1. Identify a shop safety coordinator or responsible person who is qualified to provide supervision, advice, and training, and will enforce shop safety rules.
  2. Conduct a hazard assessment to identify hazards and required personal protective equipment (PPE). Provide PPE to anyone who may be exposed to identified hazards (according to the assessment).
  3. Develop a job hazard analysis for each hazardous equipment, activity, and material.
  4. Use the Shop Safety Plan Template to create the plan.
  5. Supplement the plan with standard operating procedures (listed below); or

Use a blank SOP template.

Share the Shop Safety Plan with personnel and users of the space, along with equipment-specific safety information.

Note: The Shop Safety Plan is one component of the unit’s Supplemental Accident Prevention Plan.

Implement safety procedures

After completing a Shop Safety Plan, do the following:

  • Control access to the shop; only trained, authorized persons can use the space.
  • Inform personnel and users of safety procedures for working alone.
  • Identify and mark hazard zones and walkways.
  • Provide signage and labels for physical and chemical hazards.
  • Require general shop safety training and shop-specific safety training for every user before allowing access to the shop, equipment, and tools.
  • Maintain an accurate inventory of hazardous chemicals in MyChem; provide easy access to safety data sheets (SDS) in MyChem or in paper form in the shop.
  • Maintain good housekeeping (according to your Shop Safety Plan).
  • Shops with hot work operations, such as welding and cutting with a torch, must obtain permits and implement programs to prevent fire and injury.

Equipment safety

Use the safeguarding methods listed in the Machine Safeguarding Guide to ensure machines and equipment are used in a safe manner.

The Shop Safety Plan Template provides examples of how to use the Hierarchy of Controls for machine safeguarding.

The Machine Guarding and Safety Assessment Self-Inspection Checklist is completed by the shop safety coordinator (or designee) for each machine/equipment initially, after modification, and prior to a shop safety inspection. This form can be completed for typical shop equipment such as band saws, table saws, drill presses, laser cutters, lathes, milling machines, and CNCs.

Note: Visit the Cranes, Hoists and Rigging page for safety inspection, testing, and maintenance information for this specialized equipment.

Equipment-specific SOPs and guides


Shops and maker spaces also ensure equipment safety by doing the following:

  • Maintain tools and equipment in good working order.
  • Create and update standard operating procedures for each type of machine or equipment (refer to the templates listed above).
  • Ensure there is adequate PPE available.
  • Maintain first aid kits, emergency washing devices, and fire extinguishers so they are ready to use.
  • Use engineering controls, such as air filters or exhaust ventilation, when using machines and equipment that emit air pollutants or dust.
  • Use lockout/tagout procedures when servicing or maintaining machines and equipment with a hazardous energy source.
  • Properly secure non-portable equipment/machinery.
  • Perform regular maintenance and inspection of specialized machinery and equipment, including cranes, hoists and rigging.
  • Use proper grounding and bonding when dispensing flammable liquids greater than 1.3 gallon (5 liters).

Additional machine guarding resources:

Safety inspections

Shops at the University of Washington are required to have a Shop Safety Inspection once every two years. A representative from the unit participates with EH&S during periodic shop safety inspections.

EH&S recommends shops and maker spaces do the following prior to a safety inspection by EH&S:

  1. Conduct a shop safety self-inspection at least annually to identify hazards and take corrective measures (as needed).
  2. Complete a Machine Guarding and Safety Assessment Self-Inspection Checklist for older equipment in use.


Emergency response and reporting

Call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Follow the EH&S exposure response procedures if potentially exposed to hazardous materials.

Report all accidents, injuries, fires, exposures to hazardous materials and near-miss events to a supervisor (or shop safety coordinator) and to EH&S using the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS).


EH&S will help units identify potential health and safety risks and provide consultation and support to improve safety procedures in their shops and maker spaces.

Frequently asked questions

More information



Shop and Maker Space Safety Program Contact

(206) 543-7388