Safety Policy

To minimize the likelihood of injuries, the following procedures shall apply to all workshops/spaces and to the work of MakerLabs members/users who are permitted to work in those spaces.

All persons using MakerLabs’ tools must take the relevant introductory class for that tool, no matter their previous experience with said tool.


An important part of your experience in making will be learning to follow practices and procedures that will prevent injuries to YOURSELF and OTHERS. 
Develop a good attitude toward safety. This means that you have a strong feeling toward the importance of safety and are willing to give time and attention to learning the safest way to perform your work. It means that you will be certain to work carefully and follow the rules 
 
Please note that experience in a Lab does not equal good safety awareness. Many accidents occur not to beginners but from experienced workers that feel more comfortable in the Lab and therefore become more casual in their approach to safety guidelines. 
  • NEVER be afraid to ask a supervisor for help. 
  • NEVER use a new machine without first asking for assistance from a supervisor.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing
  • Do not long sleeve shirts/sweatshirts
  • Do not wear neckties
  • No jewelry should be worn in the fabrication lab. (Including earrings,watches and rings)
  • Snug fitting clothing is essential to your safety
  • Make certain that long hair is not loose, but is pulled back away from equipment.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with any lab equipment. Additional protection using goggles or face shields may be necessary for work such as grinding, chiseling or chipping.
  • Never work alone. There must always be at least two persons present in the Fabrication lab.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear and protective clothing, including closed toed shoes.
  • Eye protection is required while operating any machine.
  • Know where the fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
  • Know the hazards associated with your work. Be sure you are fully educated on the proper use and operation of any tool before beginning a job. If you cannot do a job safely in the fabrication lab, don’t do it. 
  • If you are unsure about how to safely execute the operation of a tool, ask for help. Have the fabrication lab supervisors assist, demonstrate, and observe to help you become familiar and comfortable. 
  • If you have not worked with a specific material before, consult the fabrication lab supervisor for precautions, methods and instruction prior to beginning work.
  • Do not work in the lab if you are in a hurry, this almost always ruins the work and often results in injury.
  • Before starting any machine be sure to check that it is set up correctly and fully operational.
  • Check power cords and plugs on portable tools before using them.
  • Use gloves or special tool for the removal of chips, shavings and debris. Do not use your hands to clean shavings or cuttings – they can be sharp!
  • When doing heavy sanding face masks or respirators should always be worn.
  • Keep your fingers clear from the point of operation of machines by using special tools and devices such as push sticks and paddles. Never use a rag near moving machinery.
  • Keep the work area free from debris, clean spills immediately and remove all sawdust and wood chips. Do not bring food or drink in to the fabricationlab. 
  • Clean up after yourself. Before you leave the lab be sure all tools are returned to their appropriate position and all the machines are clean and the floor is swept. 
  • Avoid earphones, cell phone use and texting. We need to be able to get your attention and you need to hear what’s going on around you. Cell phone use and texting are distractions. Simply go elsewhere to use your phone

Power tools can be extremely dangerous if they are used improperly. Common accidents associated with power tools include abrasions, cuts, lacerations, amputations, burns, electrocution, and broken bones. These accidents are often caused by the following: 
  • Touching the cutting, drilling, or grinding components
  • Getting caught in moving parts
  • Suffering electrical shock due to improper grounding, equipment defects, or operator misuse
  • Being struck by particles that normally eject during operation
  • Touching hot tools or workpieces
  • Falling in the work area
  • Being struck by falling tools

When working around power tools, you must wear personal protective equipment and avoid  wearing loose clothing or jewelry that could catch in moving machinery. In addition to general lab guidelines, follow these guidelines for working with power tools: 
  • Use the correct tool for the job. Do not use a tool or an attachment for something it was not designed to do.
  • Select the correct bit, blade, cutter, or grinder wheel for the material at hand. This precaution will reduce the chance for an accident and improve the quality of your work.
  • Keep all guards in place. Cover exposed belts, pulleys, gears, and shafts that could cause injury.
  • Always operate tools at the correct speed for the job at hand. Working too slowly can cause an accident just as easily as working too fast.
  • Watch your work when operating power tools. Stop working if something distracts you.
  • Do not rely on strength to perform an operation. The correct tool, blade, and method should not require excessive force. If undue force is necessary, you may be using the wrong tool or have a dull blade.
  • Before clearing jams or blockages on power tools, disconnect from power source. Do not use your hand to clear jams or blockages, use an appropriate tool.
  • Never reach over equipment while it is running.
  • Never disable or tamper with safety releases or other automatic switches.
  • When the chance for operator injury is great, use a push stick to move material through a machine.
  • Disconnect power tools before performing maintenance or changing components.
  • Keep a firm grip on portable power tools. These tools tend to "get away" from operators and can be difficult to control.
  • Do not operate power tools when you are sick, fatigued, or taking strong medication.
  • Make sure all guards and safety devices are in place and in perfect operating order
  • Do not use a machine without the proper guards.
  • Know the physics of the machine and where the cutting force wants to throw the material
  • When feeding material through a machine with the hands, be aware of the direction you are pushing (away from blade or cutter). 
  • Never clean a machine while it is running.
  • Never make an adjustment unless the power is off. The tool must come to a complete stop.
  • If something doesn’t sound right, or feel right - turn off the machine and inform the supervisor or monitor.

ABOVE ALL, THINK BEFORE YOU PERFORM ANY TASK. KNOW THE TOOL'S CAPABILITIES AND THE WORK IT IS INTENDED FOR. IF YOU FEEL UNSURE, STOP AND ASK FOR ASSISTANCE. 

  1. Safety & Orientation Classes

    1. Members and Drop-in users are required to complete Safety/Orientation classes before gaining access to tools, regardless of previous experience.

    2. Refunds or credit for future classes will only be provided if we are notified by email to hello@makerlabs.com at least 24 hours in advance of the class. No refunds will be provided for late cancellation, but we do offer a 50% credit towards a future class.

  2. CNC - specific guidelines

    1. BYOB - Bring your own bit or rent/purchase one from the MakerLabs front desk

  3. Accident Reporting

    1. All accidents or incidents involving users or staff must be reported to MakerLabs staff and an incident must be filed. Please fill out an incident report form which can be found under Safety on the Wiki.

  4. While using tools, members and drop-in users must follow MakerLabs’ Code of Conduct,  respect the the direction of MakerLabs’ staff members, and observe the following safety rules:   

    1. use required personal protective equipment, which includes

      1. safety glasses must be worn at all times while working with tools

      2. ear protection and respirators are highly recommended in the workshop area

    2. closed toe shoes required in workshop

    3. do not wear gloves, loose-fitting clothing, baggy sleeves, dangling jewellry, or neck ties that could become entangled in machinery

    4. only use tools in safe working condition

    5. only use tools that the member/user can safely operate

    6. get assistance from staff or other knowledgeable persons for unfamiliar tools

    7. ensure that all guards and related protective devices are used

    8. report details of any tools not in safe working condition by submitting an email to hello@makerlabs.com. MakerLabs staff will review and resolve within 30 days.

    9. always disconnect power before making adjustments to power tools.

    10. do not service the equipment without permission from the MakerLabs staff.

    11. do not cut material that contains metal, nails, screws, etc.

    12. take appropriate steps to prevent release of dusts or noxious fumes

    13. take appropriate fire prevention precautions when your work generates heat or sparks, or involves open flames or flammable liquids

    14. do not remove machine guards

    15. store tools, equipment, and supplies properly.

    16. cleanup after yourself.

  5. Saw-specific guidelines

    1. Always use the mitre gauge or rip fence.

    2. Only use both the mitre gauge and the rip fence when they can both be positioned on the same side of the blade.

    3. Feed wood with a push stick when the fence is positioned within 6 inches of the blade and when making the last 6 inches of a cut.

    4. When cross cutting, remove rip fence.

    5. Never reach behind or over the blade.

    6. Avoid awkward positions that could lead to a sudden slip and contact with the blade.

    7. Support material that extends beyond the table using table extensions or roller tables.

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