Providing a safe learning environment is one of the guiding principles of the lab. This requires both an established culture of “safety first” and a thorough safety plan that addresses training, operations and access, maintenance, and responding to injuries.
Safety training for users is split into two types: general and specialized equipment certification. The general safety training must be completed by any user prior to using the lab for project work. Exceptions include meetings, tutoring, workshops, or other activities not involving the use of tools or equipment. CLC faculty or administrators can provide exceptions on a case by case basis.
General Training must be completed prior to using the lab’s hand tools and light power tools. General training can be conducted by faculty as well as the fab lab staff. General training includes the following modules, kept as Google docs and available to all instructors and lab staff:
Upon completion of general training, users must read, agree to and sign the “Fab Lab Usage Agreement and Waiver of Liability” Signed agreements are kept on file in the lab for reference.
Various equipment requires training and certification prior to use. This requirement is based on either increased risk of injury, the cost of the equipment, complexity of use, or a combination of those. Training will include basic operation and safety requirements, tips and tricks, learning resources, and cleanup. Resources developed for equipment are included in Section 8.0. A list of certified users is kept next to the equipment Equipment requiring certification prior to use includes:
The Fab Lab safety culture is integrated into training, signage, conversations, presentations, printed and online material. Fab Lab staff make safety their top priority while on the job. This includes following safe practices as an example and helping to keep the lab clean, orderly and free of potential safety hazards. Staff consistently conduct effective safety training and verify credentials of users as they check in. Fab Lab staff have the training on how to respond to users engaging in unsafe practices, including stopping unsafe practices immediately, directing a user to follow the lab safety rules or leave, asking a user to leave, and in the event of users who are not cooperative, requesting assistance from CLC faculty and if necessary the CLC Police.
A variety of different types of users may be using this open lab space at any given time. In order to provide a safe environment, a combination of safety training/certification and access limitations is used to help prevent user injuries. In general, users might progress through three stages of training and access to use the various tools and equipment in the lab:
The Baxter Innovation Lab uses the controlled banding categorization technique for identifying hazard levels of the various equipment in the lab. The safety ratings that result from this categorization are used to control access to various equipment. Safety ratings for equipment are posted next to the equipment for reference.