Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS), recognizing that hazards may be encountered during work in shop areas, has developed this Machine Shop Safety Program. This program is intended to assure that:

  • Employees are provided training and information on how to protect themselves from shop and machine hazards,
  • Recommended maintenance is conducted and standard operating procedures are in place for machinery and equipment use,
  • Only persons trained and knowledgeable in the use of a specific piece of equipment use that equipment, and
  • All work is performed in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements.

This program includes provisions to assist with protecting employees from hazards. To meet this objective, the University will:

  • Survey workplaces to identify shop areas covered by this program.
  • Identify a Safety Coordinator for each shop to manage this program for their shop(s).
  • Develop and provide training to individuals who will work in shop areas or serve as Shop Safety Coordinators.
  • Develop guidelines for Shop Safety Coordinators to create written practices and procedures for machinery and equipment.
  • Establish an audit system to measure the effectiveness and use of the program and its components.


This program has been designed to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.211-.219 Machinery and Machine Guarding and New Jersey Department of Labor standards. Also included are applicable parts of related OSHA (PEOSH) standards relating to housekeeping, means of egress, and hand and power tools.


This program applies to all departments that have shop areas and employees who work in shop areas that have fixed or permanently stationed or stored equipment.

With regard to construction work, the program does not cover temporary worksites with equipment placed to conduct on-site construction activities. Those portable pieces of equipment will be covered by this program at the location where they are stored when not in use.


REHS will conduct annual inspections of machine shops as part of the program audit process. Additional inspections of machine shops must be conducted by the Shop Safety Coordinator as necessary to maintain compliance with this program.


Floors, machines, and other surfaces must be kept free of dirt and debris. If floor surfaces are wet or become wet during work activities, they should be protected with a non-slip coating or covering.
Wood and metal chips, sawdust, and other debris must be routinely cleaned if collection systems are not in place and operating.

Material Storage and Handling

Stock materials must be stored in such a manner as to prevent falling, slipping, or rolling. Material should not be stored on the floor, and may not be stored where they will impede egress from the area. Use shelves or cabinets, as appropriate, to store materials.


Chemicals must be stored in cabinets approved for that use, as appropriate. Do not store incompatible chemicals together. Remember that Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals used must be maintained in the shop area.

Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Flammable and combustible liquids include, but are not limited to, materials such as gasoline, oils, some paints, lacquers, thinners, cleaners, and solvents. To determine if a material or product is flammable or combustible, review the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or read the manufacturers label on the product.

  • Only approved containers and portable tanks may be used for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.
  • The amount of flammable or combustible liquids that may be stored in any one flammable storage cabinet is strictly limited. As a general rule, do not store more than 25 gallons in one cabinet. If you need to store larger quantities in one location, please contact REHS for guidance at 848-445-2550 or refer to the Rutgers Emergency Services 848-932-4800.
  • The storage of flammable or combustible liquids inside of a building and outside of an approved storage cabinet is also limited. As a general rule, you may not store flammable liquids inside of any building that is outside of a flammable storage cabinet, except for amounts that can be easily used in one working day. If you need to store larger quantities in one location, please contact REHS for guidance.
  • Flammable liquids must be kept in closed containers when not actually in use.
  • Conspicuous and legible signs prohibiting smoking must be posted in areas where flammable and combustible liquids are dispensed or used.
  • Keep flammable liquids away from all sources of heat. An empty container can hold enough liquid or vapors to support an explosion.
  • Always electrically ground containers when transferring flammable liquids to prevent ignition from static electricity.
  • Clean up spills immediately; the longer the liquid vaporizes the more hazardous the area becomes.
  • All flammable and combustible liquid containers must be properly labeled. Contact REHS as needed for more information or training on labeling requirements.
  • Store any cloth or paper rags, or material that has been saturated with flammable or combustible liquids, in an approved metal can with a tight-fitting lid. These materials should be removed on a daily basis and placed into a 55-gallon metal drum with tight fitting lid located in an approved storage location. Contact REHS at 848-445-2550 for approval of the storage location and to arrange disposal of the drum when full.
  • Always remove/replace clothing that has become saturated with a flammable or combustible liquid-even if it is just a little. Saturated clothing can easily ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as radiant heat, flame, sparks or slag from hot work, or an electrical arc.


A shop area must be accessed only by those persons who have received training consistent with this program.


Aisles and walkways must be kept free of debris and obstructions and a clear path must be maintained to the exit.
Machinery should be placed so that a clear and safe operating area is maintained for each machine.


The shop area must have adequate lighting to perform the work safely, and sufficient ventilation and noise control as needed to control exposures to harmful dusts, mists, fumes, chemicals, or noise.


No person should work in a shop area alone. Hours of operation should be established. Emergency contact numbers must be readily available.

Shop Guidelines

The Shop Safety Coordinator should establish shop specific information such as hours of operation, controls over who can access the space, and general housekeeping rules and post this information near the shop entrance. Shop guidelines and rules must be clearly posted