Shop Usage & Safety


Fabrication activities play an important role in the curriculum and extracurricular activities at Olin College. Promoting and maintaining a culture of safety depends on the individual behavior of everyone: students, staff, and faculty. We must look out for each other, teach each other and, when appropriate, caution each other.

The following rules have been developed to help foster a culture of safety and they apply to everyone who wants to use The Shop and the associated tools and machines at Olin College. This includes any of the other fabrication spaces at Olin College. These rules are general in nature and do not cover the safe operating procedure for each piece of equipment. Shop staff may prohibit shop access or machine use by an individual or a group for insufficient training, experience or for non-compliance with shop safety rules. Serious violations will be referred to the Honor Board. 

Babson, Brandeis and Wellesley students are welcome to use the shop if they are enrolled in a course or if they are part of an registered club at Olin

Anyone that needs accommodations based on the impact of a disability should contact the shop staff to discuss their specific needs. The Shop embraces the notion of intellectual community enriched and enhanced by diversity along a number of dimensions, including race, ethnicity and national origins, gender, gender identity and expression, sexuality, class and religion.

Safety is a priority and an integral part of shop training at Olin College. Additional information is available directly from the staff (office is located in AC105). 

General Shop Conduct and Safety Rules

  1. Eye protection must be worn at all times when in the workshop. This applies regardless if you are working on machinery or not. Activities of others can affect your safety.
  2. No student is allowed to work in any shop alone. Period. You must have at least one other person with you. If there is an accident, the other person can call for help and come to your aid.
  3. Obtain first aid immediately for any injury. Report all accidents/injuries to the shop supervisor no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. This will help us to mitigate hazards in the future.
  4. Do not operate machinery that you have not been authorized to use. This will protect both you and the equipment from harm. All machine tools require machine specific training and are not to be used unless the shop supervisor grants authorization. See the shop supervisor, not your partner for proper instruction.
  5. Only Olin students or authorized Babson/Wellesley students are permitted in the workshop. Keeping the foot traffic to a minimum provides for a safer and more comfortable working environment. Advance authorization from the machine shop supervisor is required for others to enter the shop.
  6. No pets allowed in the workshop. Pets are a distraction and become a tripping hazard by free roaming the shop floor.
  7. Do not attempt to oil, clean, adjust or repair any machine while it is running. Performing maintenance on moving machinery exposes you to additional hazards. We wish to reduce hazardous situations (some machines require you to adjust speeds while running, such as variable speed drill presses).
  8. Ensure that all machine guarding is in place and functioning properly. Inform the machine shop supervisor if the guarding is damaged or malfunctioning. Malfunctioning guarding will not properly protect you and becomes a hazard itself.
  9. Do not leave machines running unattended. Others may not notice the machine is running and be injured by moving tooling.
  10. Do not try to stop the machine with your hands or body. Stopping the machine with your body can result in entanglement. Let the machine come to a stop naturally.
  11. Always keep hands, hair, feet etc. clear of all moving machinery at all times. Be aware of all moving parts, especially cutting tools and chucks.
  12. Double-check that tooling and work pieces are properly supported and clamped prior to starting the machine. Starting a spindle with loose tooling or machining a loosely clamped work piece can produce flying hazards.
  13. Heavy or unwieldy work pieces often require special support structures to machine safely. Ask for help if you are unsure if your work piece requires additional support.
  14. Remove chuck keys, wrenches and other tools from machines after making adjustments. Chuck keys left in the chuck when the machine turns on become dangerous flying objects.
  15. Ask for help when moving awkward or heavy objects. This will protect you and those around you from injury.
  16. Deburr sharp edges of freshly cut stock. This includes the piece of stock that goes back in the stock rack. Eliminating burred edges minimizes the chances for personal injury and marring of precision machine surfaces.
  17. When working with another person, only one person should operate the machine.
  18. Do not lean against the machines.  It is poor etiquette. If you need a rest, grab a chair.
  19. Do not talk unnecessarily while operating a machine. Do not talk to others while they are operating a machine. Do not become a distraction to others. Concentrate on the work and the machine at all times, it only takes a moment for an accident to occur. If you must talk, turn off the machine.
  20. Be sure you have sufficient light to see clearly when performing any job. Well lit workspaces are much safer and less straining on the operator.
  21. Work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Rushing will compromise safe working practices along with part quality and increases the chance of damaging equipment.
  22. Listen to the machine(s) - if something does not sound right, shut it down. Often if the machine sounds abnormal to you, it probably is not operating properly. Inform the shop supervisor if you believe the machine to be operating abnormally.
  23. Never use compressed air for cleaning machinery. This will embed particulates into the precision machine ways and will drastically reduce the life of the machine tool. Use the supplied chip brushes and rags to clean machinery.
  24. Never use compressed air to clean your clothes or any part of your body. Particles can become embedded in skin and eyes. In extreme cases, air can be introduced into the bloodstream.
  25. Users must abide by copyright and trademark laws. No weapons, parts for weapons, weapon accessories, or weapon replicas may be produced with any shop equipment. The staff reserve the right to deny or cancel any job that does not comply with policy.

  26. Loss of keys or card access associated with the shop is to be reported to the Babson & Olin Office of Public Safety and shop supervisor immediately. This will help us maintain security.
  27. If you do not know how to do something – ASK! Do not engage in any activity that may have unusual risk. Trust your judgment. Check with the shop supervisor if you have any doubts about what you are doing.

Shop Cleanliness Rules

  1. Keep floors free of oil, grease or any other liquid.  Clean up spilled liquids immediately, they are slipping hazards.
  2. Store materials in such a way that they cannot become tripping hazards.  Immediately return all excess material to its proper storage place.
  3. Put tools away when not in use.  This prevents loss of tools and also makes them available to others.
  4. Place all scrap in scrap containers or trash.
  5. Stop work 10 minutes prior to the time you need to leave the shop. This will provide ample time to clean and replace tools to their homes.
  6. KEEP THE SHOP CLEAN AT ALL TIMES. It is everyone’s job to keep the shop clean. There is no excuse for a cluttered/messy workspace. If your workspace is cluttered, then you are working too fast. Slow down. Know this; you will not anger someone if you clean up after them. In fact, they will likely do the same for you.

Dress Code

  1. No open toed shoes or high heels or bare feet. To provide secure footing, choose shoes with softer soles and stable platforms. Wearing appropriate footwear will help protect feet from falling objects and hot sparks or chips and lessen fatigue.
  2. No loose clothing allowed. This includes but is not limited to ties, scarves and loose-sleeved shirts. Short sleeves or sleeves rolled above the elbow are preferred. When welding, long sleeves are require for protection from arc-flash and metal sparks.
  3. No shorts, dresses or skirts allowed when working in the metal shop. Burred edges of freshly cut metal such as sheet stock are razor sharp. Wearing of long pants will protect you and those around you. Additionally, hot chips will burn/cut exposed skin potentially startling the operator. This rule does not apply in the wood shop.
  4. Remove all jewelry that could be caught in moving machinery. This includes rings and loose bracelets. Remove necklaces and the like, if not securely restrained.
  5. Restrain all hair that has potential for entanglement with moving machinery.
  6. Wearing of gloves when working on moving machinery is prohibited. Gloves can easily become entangled in moving machinery and thus are not allowed... The only exceptions to this rule are; 1) the wearing of membranous gloves (such as latex or nitrile) for personal protection or contamination control; 2) The wearing of gloves while using a bench or portable grinder or buffing wheel. If you need to wear gloves, see workshop supervisor for acceptable types for your application.