We are all about Safety First. After all, we are sponsored by DuPont, and we meet at a DuPont site. Safety is important for myriad reasons. First of all, I don’t know about you, but I like my friends and family alive and in one piece. Paying attention to safety helps achieve that goal. Secondly, one little violation of safety rules could completely change your life for the worse, e.g., not wearing a seatbelt exponentially increases your risk of disability or death should you have the misfortune to be in a car crash.
Here is our list of safety* rules**, and why each one is important.
- ALWAYS wear safety glasses in the lab, and when using power tools. This one is DuPont’s rule, and is just generally good practice.¨
- ALWAYS pay attention your job while you are working with power tools/sharp instruments. If you’re using a power tool or sharp instrument like a saw or scissors, but you’re not paying attention, your tool is about 10, 000x more likely to slip and seriously injure you.
- ALWAYS use a clamp when drilling or sawing. Not to be a killjoy, but if you don’t, the material you are drilling/ cutting will slip, or your tool will slip, resulting in injury.
- ¨ ALWAYS wear ALL recommended safety gear. See the first three rules.
- ¨ ALWAYS pay attention to ANY mentor who is addressing you and/or your team. 1) It’s common courtesy, and 2) He/she could have important safety information.
- ¨ ALWAYS use sidewalks and crosswalks where available. In the first place, crossing without using a crosswalk (if there is one) is called Jaywalking. It’s illegal. Secondly, not using sidewalks and crosswalks is just asking to get hit by a car. Getting hit by a car is generally not considered to be beneficial to one’s health.
- ¨ ALWAYS know where the emergency exits are. Getting trapped in a building endangers not only yourself, but also the people who try to rescue you. Risking your own life is
badidiotic. Risking someone else’s life because you didn’t take a simple precaution is just plain WRONG.
- ¨ ALWAYS obey caution/ warning signs. They’re not just seriously awesome decor.
- ¨ ALWAYS know what you and those around you are doing. Walking into a running Dremmel tool = painful and injurious to one’s health. So is having a gear whizzed in your face at 2000 rpm. *cough, cough*
- ¨ALWAYS ask if you need help. Just because you CAN solder with one hand, screw 2 pieces together with the other hand, and use a drill with your teeth AT THE SAME TIME doesn’t mean you should. Trust me, the few minutes or bit of effort that you save someone else does NOT make up for the time and money you’ll spend in the hospital or worse (start imagining your favorite low budget life insurance ad *here*).
- ALWAYS tie back long hair in the lab, or when working with power tools/ sharp objects. You know how much it hurts when your baby cousin pulls your hair? It’s going to feel a LOT worse when that’s a drill press. Besides, unlike babies, drill presses just aren’t cute enough to get away with it.
- ¨ NEVER use power tools you haven’t been taught how to use correctly and safely. If you’re afraid of looking silly for not knowing how to use something, just remember that you’ll look a LOT sillier when you’re bleeding to death in the ER.
- ¨ NEVER goof off around power tools and/or sharp instruments. They’re TOOLS not toys. Things that are made to cut metal quickly and easily are more than capable of leaving injuries that will stay with you for life.
- ¨ NEVER use power tools or sharp instruments without a mentor nearby. Erm, yeah, so my knowledge of First Aid is kind of limited to the theory of canine first aid. In other words, I’m NOT the person you want around in an emergency. Actually, this is a DuPont rule, and also, it’s just generally a good idea.
- ¨NEVER distract someone who is using power tools or a sharp instrument. See “Always pay attention to what you’re doing when using power tools/ sharp instruments,” and “Never goof off while using power tools.”
- ¨NEVER wear shorts or open-toed shoes in the lab. If you thought that dropping that running drill on your foot hurt when you were wearing sneakers, wait til you repeat that with flip- flops. Hammers, sharp scraps of metal and 30lb robots don’t feel so great either.
- ¨NEVER work on a robot that is powered on. A powered on robot can move, and moving parts are dangerous. Besides, those little pieces of finger you leave in the gears will probably have a detrimental effect on the robot’s performance, and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?
- ¨NEVER eat or drink while working on a robot. In the first place, food is distracting. In the second place, food and drink can wreck the robot. Going to the MOEd Runner’s funeral is NOT on my list of “5000 awesome things to do before I die.” Seeing the MOEd Runner win Worlds totally is.
- ¨NEVER throw anything at ANYONE for ANY reason. This is my third year on the team. The most painful injury I’ve seen on the team resulted from a violation of this rule. (It was my first year, which is why most of you on the team have no idea what I’m talking about. )
- ¨NEVER run in a parking lot. Getting hit by a car is not good for you. (And yes, I am starting to feel like a broken record.) The first actual conversation I had with a couple members of the team (you know who you are:) ) was when I yelled at them for violating this rule. However, just because violating this rule can be a great ice breaker doesn’t mean that you should do it. (Love you guys!)
- ¨KNOW the emergency number at your location. 911 is always good to know, but at the DuPont site where we meet there is an internal phone number. It’s on our safety poster, BTW.
- ¨ IF you’re not sure how to do something, ask! I already explained this one.
IF IT CAN HAPPEN, IT WILL- UNLESS YOU PUT SAFETY FIRST!!
*Disclaimer: These rules are merely guidelines, and are not all the applicable safety rules by a long shot. Following these rules does not guarantee freedom from risk of injury or death. I (Stina) tend to get a little excited about safety. It’s genetic.
** See? Safety RULES. (If you got it, you can stop groaning now. If you didn’t get it, don’t worry about it. )