Safety in DaBL

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The Design and Build Lab is a working laboratory; as such, proper safety precautions should be taken to ensure a safe and productive working environment. The most important policy to remember is: if you don't know what a particular tool is, or don't know how to use a tool, don't use it; ask a Creative and Technical Specialist for help. This is an educational space; CaTS are on duty explicitly to answer your questions and help you learn.

Equipment dangers

The following list covers all general equipment within DaBL. Any dangers specific to a particular workstation (e.g. 3D printer, Electronics station) will be covered in that equipment's certification workshop.

Equipment dangers typically fall into five categories:

Sharp and Blunt Things

Tools like saws, box cutters, and drill bits are sharp and have to potential to cut you. Tools like hammers and pry bars are blunt and have the potential to smash you. Always put away sharp instruments when not in use even if the blade is retracted.

Hot Things

Tools like soldering irons are hot enough to cause serious burns. When using something that is hot, ensure that it is off when not in use. Make sure everyone in the space is alert when using the heat press, as a large hot face can hurt someone easily.

Bright Things

Equipment like the laser cutter, which has a powerful laser with which to cut organic material, has the potential to do serious damage to your eyes. Do not look directly at the laser, and do not attempt to cut anything reflective in the laser. These precautions will be covered in more depth in the laser cutter's certification workshop.

Spinning Things

Tools like the electric drills, the sewing machine, and the drill press spin. Anything loose around them has the potential to be grabbed and pulled in. If that loose thing is connected to you, you will be pulled in. Therefore:

  • All long hair must be pulled back into a ponytail.
  • All necklaces, bracelets, and anything else around the neck and wrists must be removed.
  • Any loose-fitting clothing must be secured.
  • Long sleeves must be rolled up.

Particulating Things

Any tool which created particles (i.e. "particulates" material) has the potential to throw those particles into your eyes and throat. Please use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times when operating equipment which particulates. Machines that creates particles in an enclosed space, such as the laser cutter and PCB Mill, should have the appropriate vacuum system turned on when in use. Instruments that create particles more freely, such as a drill, require regular clean up.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

DaBL has a full range of personal protective equipment.

PPE Use case Location Notes
Safety glasses Any time particulate is created, a bright or spinning machine is being used Main desk, beside RFID Badge-In station - Can also be found in the top drawer of all workstations.

- Over-glasses type also available.

Dust mask Any time particulate or aerosol is created Main desk, beside RFID Badge-In station
Nitrile gloves Paints, adhesives, protection from getting hand oils on sensitive assemblies Drawers below main shelving -Working gloves are available as well

First Aid Kit

Location: Main desk, beside RFID Badge-In station.

Fire Extinguisher

Location: Under the sink, beside the entrance.

Emergency Procedures Documentation

Location: On the wall between the main desk and entrance.

In the case of an emergency (e.g. weather, lock-down, medical emergency, et al.), the University has posted a document in DaBL which outlines appropriate procedures.

More information about American University's Emergency Procedures can be found here.