Machine Shop

Machine Shops

Machine shops play an important part in the metal fabrication industry.  This is where metal parts are cut to different sizes and tailored for specific end use applications.  These shops ultimately machine metal parts for industries, like the aircraft and automotive industries.

Heavy Machine Shop


Machinists use various types of equipment for cutting raw materials into specified shapes and sizes.  Here is a look at some of the machines utilized:

Band Saws

An endless saw, typically in a vertical position.

Drill press

Drilling and boring holes into metal. Drilling and cutting metal are activities where many workplace eye injuries occur.

Grinding Station

Removing excess material from a work piece.


Rotating tool for cutting, sanding, and shaping metal.

Milling Machine

A machine for rotating a cutter on flat metal surfaces.You will definitely need cut resistant gloves when handling the milling cutters.

Table Saws

Circular saw mounted on the underside of a bench.

While there are machine guards in place for protecting workers, there are still many hazards where PPE is essential.  All of the above machines put a wearer’s eyes at risk.  Flying debris, metal fragments, metal projectiles and particles are real concerns for those working around machines.  In addition, workers cleaning these machines put their eyes and hands into direct contact with harsh splashing chemicals.   When it comes to hand injuries, many injuries occur when workers are moving sharp metal across the machine shop.  We cover all the machine shop hazards more in depth below.  Before going into the hazards though, let us closely examine the workers that make up this industry.

In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were over 370,000 total Machinists working in the US.  These workers use hand machine tools to fabricate or make modifications to metal, plastics or wood.  When you look only at Machine Shops, there are a little over 84,000 machinists across the US.   Here are the other workers making up this industry:


Click an occupation to expand for more information.
  • Assemblers and Fabricators 

    Assemble finished products, along with parts and pieces that go into them.  There are over 1.8 million people employed across the US in an assembly and fabrication position.  You will find this worker assembling bolts, using many different types of tools, and moving heavy parts.  There are around 12,000 of these workers in Machine Shops.

  • Cutting, Punching and Press Machine Setters 

    Operate machines that saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal.  There are around 5,700 of this occupation working in Machine Shops.  You will find these workers aligning metal parts and grinding out burrs or sharp edges.  This makes cut resistant gloves a high priority for this worker. Common Job titles for this position are Die Setter, Press Operator, Machine Setter and Operator, Press Punch Operator.

  • Grinding, Lapping, Polishing and Buffing Machine Operators 

    Operate grinding tools that remove excess metal material or burrs.  There are around 1,400 of this occupation working in Machine Shops.  You will find these workers sharpening edges and corners, along with polishing metal.   Common Job titles for this position are Deburrer, Finisher, Grinder, and Grinding Operator.

  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers 

    Inspect machined, fabricated or assembled parts.  There are around 9,400 of these workers are found in Machine Shops.  Common Job titles for this position are Quality Technician, Inspector, and Picker / Pacer.

  • Industrial Machinery Mechanics 

    Worker activities include repairing, installing, and adjusting industrial machinery.  With so many machines operating, this occupation should be no surprise.  There are around 2,900 of these workers in Machine Shops.  You will find these workers cutting and welding metal to repair broken metal parts.  Job titles for this position are Fixer, Industrial and Master Mechanic.

  • Industrial Maintenance Workers 

    Lubricates machines, changes parts, and performs machinery maintenance.  Machine Shops employ a little over 7,700 of these workers.  You will find these workers cleaning machine and machine parts.  Cleaning solvents, oily parts and metalworking fluids are a definite concern for these workers.  Common Job titles for this position are Lubricator, Maintenance Man, and Oiler.

  • Laborers and Material Movers, by Hand 

    Manually move materials to perform general labor.  You will find this occupation loading docks and moving materials to production areas.  Around 3,400 of these workers are in the Machine Shops.

  • Lathe and Turning Machine Operators  

    Operate lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread and form metal. You will find these workers replacing worn tools, sharpening dull cutting tools and using cutter-grinding machines.   Common Job titles for this position are Screw Machine Operator, Turn Operator, and Lathe Set Up Person.

  • Machinists 

    Operate machine tools to produce precision parts.  Job titles for this position are Gear Machinist, Machine Operator and Maintenance Machinist.

    Machinists are the workers who utilize the machine and cutting tools.  This occupation is highly skilled at operating machinery.

    Most active States for Machinists

  • Machine Tool Cutting Setters and Operators 

    Operate cutting and forming machines.  Roughly, 6% of the workforce falls into this occupation.  There are roughly 16, 000 of these workers.  Common Job titles for this position are CNC Machine setter, CNC machinist, and CNC Operator. Exposure to hazardous equipment is always a concern.

  • Computer-Controlled Machine Operators 

    Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.   There are around 23,000 of these workers in Machine Shops.  You will find these workers removing metalwork pieces and installing metalwork pieces. Common Job titles for this position are Brake Press Operator, Machine Operator, and CNC Operator.

  • Material Moving Workers 

    Around 4,000 of these workers help move steel and other material across steel factories.

  • Milling and Planning Machine Setters, Operators 

    Operate milling or planning machines to mil, plane, groove or profile metal.  There are around 2,300 of these workers in the Machine Shops Industry.  You will find these workers securing and removing and installing metal workpieces from machines.  Common Job titles for this position are CNC Machine Operator, Machine Operator, Miller and Milling Operator.

  • Welding, Soldering and Brazing Machine Operators 

    Operate welding, soldering or brazing machines that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products.  Machine Shops employ around 16,000 employees.  You will find these workers adding material to work pieces, joining metal components, and annealing finished work pieces. Common Job titles for this position are Fabricator, Mig Welder, Spot Welder, Fitter-Welder, and Braze Operators.

  • Welding Cutters and Fitters 

    Use hand-welding, flame-cutting, hand soldering, and brazing equipment to weld/join metal components, fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.  There are around 13,000 of these workers are employed in Machine Shops.  You will find these workers welding components in flat, vertical or overhead positions.  Common Job titles for this position are Maintenance Welder, Mig Welder, and Welder/Fabricator

"For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind"
Eleanor Everet

We know machinists work around a lot of gadgets and machines.  To stay safe in this working environment, it truly takes an ongoing awareness and state of mind where PPE is an absolute must.  As discussed above, machine shop workers are responsible for transforming metal into intermediate or end products.  Every time metal is transformed, there are inherent risks and hazards faced.  MCR Safety is committed to the challenge of keeping metalworkers safe. Let's get your state of mind focused on the hazards Machine Shops face!

Common Machine Shops Hazards

Find the right MCR Safety product that protects you against these common hazards.

Chemicals and Liquids

Cleaning, wiping off, and degreasing machines expose workers to harsh chemicals.  In addition, machine and metalworking fluids affect workers hands.

Cutting Oils

Keep those hands safe from cutting oils and keep your grip with Grippaz technology.

Lack of Safety Knowledge

The saying goes, "You don't know what you don't know". Let our 360 team help you know more abut PPE.

Learn More About Lack of Safety Knowledge Protection

Contact MCR Safety Today

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Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR)

Superior back of hand protection, the "Forgotten Zone", with Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR). Full flexibility and range of motion derived from rubber's elasticity.


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Sealed Eyewear

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MCR Safety Logo Why MCR Safety Products? MCR Safety Logo

MCR Safety manufactures and supplies Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Simply put, WE PROTECT PEOPLE!  We are known world-wide for our extensive product line depth surrounding gloves, glasses, and garments spanning across numerous industries.  We offer the total package of safety gear encompassing industrial gloves, safety glasses, protective garments, welding gear, industrial boots, Flame Resistant (FR) gear, face shields, and much more.  From a glove standpoint alone, MCR Safety manufacturers and supplies over 1,000 different style gloves. Here are some of the many reasons MCR Safety is your go to source for PPE:

  • Global PPE manufacturer, with operations stretching across 5 continents. 
  • Direct manufacturer of over 50% of all product, ensuring the highest level of quality. 
  • In conjunction with quality control measures resulting from direct manufacturing, our ITC Innovations Technology Center ensures another layer of testing glove quality. The ITC Lab is the only ISO 17025 accredited lab to perform ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 cut resistance, abrasion resistance, puncture resistance, and conductive heat resistance testing in North America. We offer no cost testing for users interested in knowing the quality level of current PPE being worn or for potential new products being considered.
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  • Dedicated 360° Safety Specialists ready for onsite PPE consultations.

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