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Safety in your space

I recieved the following e-mail yesterday, asking about how people keep their spaces safe. While I think it relates do our conversation on Insurance, it also merits some discussion of its own. So, what do you think?

 

We have come to the point where we do have a couple questions you might be able to help us with. We are currently growing fast in membership and already have some very exciting mechanical and electronic projects brewing. You can check out a sample at: http://makehaven.org/gallery-collections/galleries 

. We have wanted also to do woodworking and have the space for it but are nervous about finding the best way to balance access and safety. Clearly a table saw is something that we want to make sure people know how to use and respect but how do we ensure that? We have talked about all kinds of rules, training and even RF based passes to the individual tools (at least the big ones). We have gotten some good insurance but that is not the only point, we want to make sure we make our space as safe as possible. Do you know how others do this? Is there a standard template policy that is proven to work well?  Right now we have some tools (table saw and drlll press) that have been donated but we are not hooking them up till we have a better idea of a policy. Any resources you suggest to help us sort this out?
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#1

There is no one easy answer.

Demonstrating safe and proper operation of tools to the new people who want to use tools is a must.  Get local woodworking experts to do this if you don't feel you know enough, or there are some attempts at this on the web (http://woodworking.about.com/od/safetyfirst/p/TwelveTableSawSafetyTips.htm).  Some spaces require working with someone to verify they know what they're doing, after which there is some concept of signoff (your RFID mention).

Basic safety prerequisites are common: no loose or long-sleeved clothing, eye and possibly ear protection, don't put body parts in the plane of the moving machinery, alcohol and most machinery don't mix well, etc.

There are also safety devices to upgrade your equipment.  For an extreme example, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMD3agP5hv0.  Note that this still won't prevent accidents for a determined or really careless person, but it might help.  There are far simpler mechanisms depending on which type of equipment you have.

Good luck!

#2

In order to further the discussion about safety-making, please take a look at this FIRST Robotics safety manual and consider how your space corresponds to it. Check your space:

  1. is safety a core component of your culture? Would someone stop you from using a tool without safety glasses?
  2. are new members given an explicit safety orientation?
  3. are dangerous zones and safer zones of the space clearly delineated?
  4. what would happen to a child between the age of 8-11 within the first ten minutes of being left unattended in your space?

Does anyone else have suggestions for examples of safety guidelines we can look at and use as a template?

#3

1) is safety a core component of your culture? Would someone stop you from using a tool without safety glasses? No. They should though. 2) are new members given an explicit safety orientation? We are working on this. We have a waiver but this is not good enough. 3) are dangerous zones and safer zones of the space clearly delineated? Define "dangerous." 4) what would happen to a child between the age of 8-11 within the first ten minutes of being left unattended in your space? They would be given a broom or mop and a free puppy. Seriously, this was an issue once. It was a big to-do as a member was spending the night with his wife and kid. Sleeping is not supervision.

#4

  1. is safety a core component of your culture? Would someone stop you from using a tool without safety glasses?

If I did it, the response would be about 50/50. If a new person did it, the response would be closer to 100%. We have one guy who is a contractor and I always end up handing him a pair of safety glasses. "But the guard is down on the grinder." Yeah, I could care less.

2. are new members given an explicit safety orientation?

We have a "safety cabinet" that we point out on tours. Anyone wantign to use the machine shop or welders has to get the oritentation. For the welding class, we have a pretty extensive safety and operation sheet. Check it out here:

 

http://23.org/~arclight/23b_intro_welding_class.rtf

 

3. are dangerous zones and safer zones of the space clearly delineated?

We're a pretty small space, so we mostly have to rely on common sense here.

4. what would happen to a child between the age of 8-11 within the first ten minutes of being left unattended in your space?

I'd find soemthing to do while I go smack their parents. Responsible parents with kids are always welcome. Babysitting? Not so much.

 

Arclight

 

 

 

  1. are dangerous zones and safer zones of the space clearly delineated?
  2. what would happen to a child between the age of 8-11 within the first ten minutes of being left unattended in your space?
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