Are you opening up a new workshop or upgrading? Congratulations! A safe, productive workspace that keeps you and your employees happy takes careful and considerate planning. You probably have a lot on your plate and designing a workshop can sometimes feel a little overwhelming and even frustrating. Don’t worry, as stressful as it might seem it is doable. On this blog, we are going through the main things you need to consider when designing your workshop.
Have you put it all down on paper?
When you sit down with the architect and start designing your workshop, make sure you put every element down on your floor plan. It’s not enough just to have the borders and exits. You need to start figuring out where workstations will go, how people will move around and where your materials will be stored. Start by sketching in the larger equipment and the tools needed to run them. Then, put in your grinders, welders, personal equipment and storage. Draw in your employees, in scale if you can, and see how they get around. This way you’ll start getting an idea of what is going to work best for the space that you have. You’ll also be able to see if there are any potential problems with the layout. If you do find some, discuss it with your architect and come up with a solution together.
Have you used the space efficiently?
A good workspace factors in efficiency and comfort, because you can’t have one without the other. There is a lot to consider when balancing your workshop space. You don’t want too much room between stations – your employees will waste time walking from one station to another. You may want to put in as many stations as possible to increase productivity. This won’t work. First of all, it’s not safe to have a cramped workshop. Second, if your employees can’t move freely and comfortably around then work is going to be difficult. Always factor in that you’ll need space to move machinery around and for replacements.
Are you using gas and/or electricity?
Powering your workshop will be your largest expense. So make sure you plan your usage and that there are enough power sources for your machinery. Along with power sources, you’ll need to include the main power box and individual circuit breakers into your plan. Make sure you discuss with your architect where the workstations will be and where you’ll need power sources.
If you want to use gas as your main system then you need to plan outlines, servicing monitors and regulators.
Is your workshop safe?
You may have planned out an efficient space, but your workshop isn’t truly efficient if you haven’t made space for safety. This could be space to store helmets and protective gear, a fire extinguisher that easily accessed, a first aid kit that everybody can get to and there is enough room for a supervisor to freely monitor production. You also need to work out if your employees have enough room to move comfortably around. If they start getting in each other’s way, or they don’t have enough room to work, then accidents start happening.
You also need to make sure you aren’t building in hazards and you are thinking ahead for any other hazards. The main thing you need is to make sure that your floor is even. You might need other things like guard railing and toe boards.
Have you planned for emergencies?
In an environment that uses a lot of chemicals and other hazardous materials, you need to be extra cautious. It is also important that there is a fire plan and evacuation is factored into your floor plan. Pathways to the emergency exit should always be clear and easy to access. So you should always put safety first when designing your workshop. This will be explained in further detail below.
Have you factored in fumes?
There are a lot of hazardous materials being handled in a workshop. If there isn’t proper ventilation your employees will get sick and it increases the chance of an accident happening. There should be a fume extraction system at every booth that is flexible, some near the floor for heavier fumes and another on the roof.
You can’t run a fabrication shop without the right tools. At Acra, we have a top-notch range of new and second-hand machinery including press brakes, bandsaws, plasma cutters and laser cutters. If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.