It is our mission to ensure that everyone in our shop leaves in the same shape that they arrived in. We strive to make safety our highest priority.


Training

The RoboHawks begin their year in October with RoboHawk University, commonly referred to as “RoboU”. This program features classes in a variety of fields, as well as a day-long segment on shop safety. In this class, we discuss everything from wearing gloves when carrying heavy objects, ALWAYS wearing safety glasses, and even how to clean the rare bad battery. After the discussion, students are brought to the shop and have mentors show the proper way to use each machine or tool before then demonstrating this themselves.  We require a safety contract to be signed by both student and their parent to be allowed to use tools in the shop after this date.

In the Shop 

Year-round, we like to keep the idea of shop safety in each team member’s mind. We do so in ways such as keeping hair ties for those with longer hair to pull it up, placing our own safety rules on each machine, and  requiring at least two students on each machine (buddy system). We were generously donated a “gumball” dispenser to allow students to have immediate access to ear plugs if they work on loud machines. Members of the RoboHawks also have lanyards to rest the safety glasses around their neck so they may not “forget them” if they take them off in another room. Periodically, we also use #SafetyFIRST on twitter to share ways we stay safe with other members of the FRC community.

At the Competition

Since we’ve been doing this fifteen years, we know being in the heat of the moment, teams may brush off a scrape or cut without thinking about it, but we would like to change the stigma that hygiene and safety don’t matter when you have a robot to build. During competitions, we provide every team a small first aid kit consisting of band-aids, gauze, and ointment and tips on how to best keep their team members safe. During the 2015 competition, we played a three minute clip from an episode of This Old House discussing the importance of ear protection. If a participant opted to watch the segment, they received a free pair of foam ear plugs from our dispenser. 

Check out the Safety Presentation we display in our pits.

Resources

Head over to the FIRST Robotics Competition Safety Manual for additional safety information.