Gatorbotics is committed to educating our team on safe procedures. This year, we hosted safety workshops before the robotics season covering general lab safety and the safe usage of specific tools. We made our workshops available to our entire school to spread safety knowledge to everyone and to encourage others to learn to use the tools in our lab space.
This manual is intended to document team 1700’s safety procedures and to serve as a reference during the season. It is not meant to replace the in-person safety instruction that is integral to creating a safe environment for everyone involved with Gatorbotics; instead it should serve as an additional measure to ensure the safety of all team members. One of the best ways to ensure safety is simply to use common sense: don’t leave sharp objects lying out, wear safety goggles when something could get in your eyes, don’t touch hot objects. Common sense does not, however, cover situations like how to respond to a battery spill, which is when a document with safety practices becomes useful.
For additional information on specific tools, see http://gatorbotics.org/
2.0 At Competitions
2.1 Pit Organization
During competitions, we will use the shelving in our crate as storage space for materials. The shelving will be color-coded so tools are easily accessible. There will be a list cataloguing what tools and materials are stored on each shelf. Tools with sharp edges should be placed where there is minimal risk of falling and they can be picked up without injury. Batteries should be charged, but not left in chargers overnight to minimize risks of leakage. If a battery leaks, immediately notify the safety captain and FIRST officials. The area around the battery needs to be blocked off and baking soda should be poured over the leak to neutralize the sulfuric acid. Do not touch the acid as it will burn skin on contact. Any cords or other tripping hazards should be labeled with tape. Also, nothing in the pit should exceed the 10ft x 10ft x 10ft boundaries.
2.2 Working on the Robot
Make sure the power is off and any pneumatic pressure is released before working on the robot. Gloves should be used when lifting or working on the robot to prevent cuts or other injuries. While team 1700 does not set a limit on the number of people working on the robot at one time, the number should be kept small so that everyone can work safely. If necessary, one of the leads or a safety captain may limit on the number of people working on the robot.
2.3 Transporting the Robot
When moving the robot to and from the pit, use the cart and yell “Clear, Robot!” Make sure there is a clear path before pushing the cart and be aware of your surroundings. Anyone lifting the robot needs to be wearing gloves.
2.4 First Aid
There is always an orange first aid kit in the pit with band-aids and other medical supplies. Every sophomore, junior, and senior on the team has been CPR and Basic First Aid certified and should be able to help with any minor injuries. Any cut or open wound should be covered and treated immediately. When major injuries occur, they need to be reported to adults and assessed by emergency medical personnel if necessary.
All packing should be done systematically to avoid messiness that leads to tripping hazards and other potential safety problems. We use a system of color-coded bins to organize all of the tools we bring to competition and each bin has a list of the materials stored inside. There is also a master list of all tools and bins.
2.6 Other safety precautions
Safety glasses need to be worn at all times in the pit area and on the field. Glasses should not be tinted. Hair should be tied back and all shoes need to be sturdy and closed-toe.
2.7 FIRST Safety Checklist
3.0 Building and Prototyping
3.1 Working on the Robot
Make sure there are not too many people working on the robot at one time. Everyone needs to have enough space to work safely. When testing any part of the robot, make sure the surrounding area is clear.
3.2 Power Tools
Always wear goggles when using power tools and make sure anyone near you is doing the same. Only use power tools after learning the correct use and safety hazards of each tool.
3.3 Drill Press, Miter Saw, and Band Saw
The drill press, miter saw, and band saw may only be used by team members who have been through a safety training session. Currently, all team members are trained on all of these tools. Anyone using any of these tools must be watched by a mentor. It is important that while the machines are not in use they do NOT have the safety keys in them. This prevents someone from accidentally turning the tools on. The machines must be cleaned after each use. Lastly, always wear safety goggles and keep hair tied back when using either the drill press, miter saw, or band saw.
3.4 Laser Cutter
The laser cutter may only be used by team members who have been through a training session. Currently, everyone is trained on the laser cutter. When using the laser cutter, make sure that you have set the preferences to the correct setting for the material you are cutting and that you have the correct dimensions for the piece you are cutting. Before cutting, make sure that you turn on both the laser cutter and the ventilator so that the fumes can escape. All team members must be watched by either a chaperone or a mentor while using the laser cutter. As you are cutting watch the machine at all times and pull up the top, which automatically stops the machine, if anything goes wrong. Make sure to clean the bed and turn off the machine when you are done using it.
3.5 Sharp Tools
Be extremely careful with anything sharp. Wear gloves and safety goggles, and do not cut directly on the carpet. When sawing, use clamps to hold down the metal or wood you are cutting.
3.6 Cleaning Up
Make sure everything is put away in the right place. Do not leave anything out where someone could trip on it. All containers and toolbox shelves should be labeled; you can use the label maker to label anything without a label. At the end of each meeting, follow instructions from the team leads and the safety captain regarding clean up.
3.7 Game Pieces
Do not sit, stand, or hang on any game pieces. Game pieces should be stored where they will not be a tripping hazard.
3.8 First Aid
There is always an orange First Aid kit in the robotics work area. All sophomores, juniors, and seniors on the team have received CPR and First Aid training, and there is always a mentor present at meetings. If you are hurt, alert a mentor and the safety captain.
3.9 Driving the Robot
When driving the robot, make sure everyone knows the robot will be moving. Before driving, clear the area you will be using. For actions like shooting or kicking a ball, the Arrillaga Lobby is a bigger and safer place to go than our lab.
For power connections, remember, “red to red, else you’re dead,” an easy way to remind yourself which wires connect to the sides of the battery or power supply. Make sure to turn off the robot when it is not in use.
4.0 First Aid
Call 911 for any severe burns. Do not touch anyone who has an electrical burn unless you are sure they are no longer touching the power source. Care for burns with cold running water, not ice. If the burn was caused by chemicals, brush the chemicals off with gloved hands and flush the burn with tap water.
Clean any cuts or scrapes with water soap and water and apply disinfectant to prevent infections. Cover the wound with a band-aid or other bandage. If the cut is caused by something that could contain tetanus, see a doctor.
4.3 Other Injuries
Seek medical attention for all serious injuries. If anything gets into your eye, flush your eye with lots of cold water.