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Baxter Innovation Lab
Promoting hands-on design and innovation for students, teachers and professionals.


Lab Safety

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.

Training

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:

  • General - the importance of lab safety, qualifications to use the lab, what to do in an emergency, and general shop safety guidelines and rules. In particular users must always wear eye protection and never work alone. (Reference Presentation: “Fab Lab Safety: General”)
  • Hand Tools - risk and common types of injuries caused by hand tools, rules for hand tool safety. (Reference Presentation: “Fab Lab Safety: Hand Tools”
  • Light Power Tools - common injuries and causes of power tool accidents, rules for power tool use. (Reference Presentation: “Fab Lab Safety: Light Power Tools”)

Waiver of Liability

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.

Specialized Equipment Certification

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:

  • Lasers
  • CNC  Mills & Routers
  • Mitre, chop, circular  saws
  • Drill press
  • Table Router
  • 3D printers and scanners
  • Soldering equipment
  • Printer/cutter

Operations

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.

Access

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:

  1. General Safety Training and completion of usage agreement/waiver: allows access to the lab and use of basic hand and power tools ( all equipment with Safety level rating of 1 and some Level 2 equipment), always while the lab is staffed and open, never alone. If users require the use of specialized equipment to complete a project, but lack certification, CLC staff must use the equipment directly.
  2. Specialized equipment training and certification: allows users to work on equipment requiring certification and certain Safety Level 2 equipment under the guidance of CLC staff (student workers or full time staff/faculty).
  3. Level 3 or 4 Equipment training and certification: allows users to use equipment rated as Level 3 or 4 on the safety rating scale, but only under the direct supervision of full time CLC staff or faculty. Access to this equipment is controlled by lock and key. Fab Lab faculty hold the keys and should not make copies or leave keys unattended.

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.