In the Instrument Shop, safety is our number one priority. We don’t do anything that can’t be done without risk of injury. One step on our path to safety is to require some formal safety training before you may work in the shop.  You don’t need training to visit the shop, but for working in the shop you do.


Here’s the deal on the formal safety training: we need to have it, because it really does reduce the chances that you will be hurt in the shop, and we need to have a record of it, because that’s the world we live in — in the safety training world they often say “If there’s no record, it didn’t happen.” To make this as effective and easy as possible, we’ve divided the training into two parts, an online Moodle component and an in-person, live, component. Then we divided each of those into modules, most of which relate to a particular tool or machine. There is also a general basic shop safety module, which is the first one you’ll do, and is about safety in the shop as a whole.

The online training covers the information that applies to all examples of a type of machine, (or for the general training, all shops) while the live training covers a particular machine (or a particular shop). For example all drill presses have some similar features — that’s what makes them drill presses — but each individual example of a drill press has its own unique traits. As an even more specific example, all drill presses have a table of some sort but how that table is raised and lowered will vary by the individual machine.  The Moodle training teaches that there is a a table, the live training shows how a particular table works.

Before jumping in to the training, it’s a good idea to talk with the shop manager and talk through what you want to do. Stop by and have a chat, or send an email.

Ongoing Safety

After you do the formal training, you’ll have a pretty good idea about the hazards of each machine and what you can do to avoid those hazards. Always keep those in mind.  Here are some general guidelines about how to stay safe.


That’s our number one rule for safety, which you’ll remember is our number one priority. Keep your brain engaged in what you’re doing, don’t try to take a shortcut, do the job the right way and the vast majority of accidents can be avoided. Yes, we have rules about personal safety equipment, guarding and procedures, but the biggest factor in keeping safe is to constantly think about what you’re doing.

  • Stop and think: “Is it safe to touch that?”
  • Turn it by hand first. Does everything clear?
  • Pause before you press the GO! button. Is everything tightened?
  • Is it getting too messy around here? It’s OK to clean up in the middle of the day, too.

The Rules

You’ll see these things repeated so often, hopefully they will be second-nature and, if you’re in the shop you’re going to follow these safety rules.

These rules apply at all times in the student, wood, and main shops. The office and lobby are excluded. The overall goal of these rules is to create and maintain an environment that minimizes the possibility of personal injury.

Visiting the Shop

  • Safety glasses must be worn at all times. Eye injuries tend to be instant and life-changing.

Working in the Shop

  • Safety glasses must be worn at all times.
  • Shoes must cover toes and heels.
  • Pants must cover the knees.
  • Hair longer than shoulder length must be securely tied back. Make sure the braid or ponytail can’t swing around and get caught.
  • Rings, watches and bracelets must be removed.
  • Short sleeves are preferred. If long sleeves are worn they must be close-fitting.
  • Other personal protective equipment, such as hearing and breathing protection, may be required for some operations.