View Full Version : UL Safety Award at GTR

04-01-2008, 04:49 PM
As one of the teams given special mention (I believe it was: 771,772,1075) for this award, and the award given to 1141, I was curious as to what exactly the MegaWatts did.

I know they handed out a package with a pair of Safety Glasses and Work Gloves on Thursday. Did that win them the award on its own?

I know 1075 was told on Friday that we were in the top 2 or 3 teams in contention for the award, and I know we stepped it up BIG TIME on Saturday Morning. We had a large number of members around the venue with orange flags escorting any and all robots through the pit area keeping everyone safe (this was especially important with our own cart, as anyone who's seen it can attest to). We also had members stationed at the main intersection in the pits to keep traffic moving safely.

We felt somewhat slighted that we didn't get it, but we were more prepared to see it go to 772, who had placed first aid kits in all the venue's bathroom facilities, handing out safety videos, as well as posting signs all over the pit area.

Don't take this as any slight to 1141, I was just curious if there was more that they did that I just didn't see. Congrats 1141, on winning such a competed for award.

04-01-2008, 05:06 PM
I don't think anyone from 1141 actively posts here, but as an alumni, I asked them what they did to win GTR safety last year when I was at Waterloo. They said they tried to do things that were genuinely safe around their robot, such as strapping it down when moving, always wearing gloves, handing out free safety glasses (I still have mine from their 2007 pits). They said they were less active in the safety evangelism (putting posters everywhere, 'bump' signs, robot safety wardens, etc), but try to focus more in things that keep their team safe around their robot, on the field, and in the pits. They were runner-ups in Atlanta last year for the world safety award, so there is probably much more to it than what I've posted.

04-01-2008, 05:11 PM
Hm... quite possibly... I know they had a LED board in their pit touting messages of safety.

The Safety guys from BrucePower at the Canadian Regionals loved our cart, and even more than the fact that it was designed as a safety tool from the ground up, they loved all the safety features we deliberately built into it, knowing full well that they'd be all over it like a dirty shirt if it was anything less than the pinnacle of safety. Also, from Waterloo to GTR we added some of the features they would have liked to see.

We think every team should build a cart much like ours.

04-01-2008, 05:19 PM
I can't comment on what you or 1141 did or didn't do because I am not a safety adviser and such didn't prioritize watching your efforts, but I can comment on some of the things the safety advisers had as top priority.
I know for a fact the biggest thing the safety advisers (at least the ones at Waterloo and Mississauga) look for is consistency in safety from Thursday to Friday. Next is your work area, is your pit set up in a safe manner, it it tidy, do you always stay within your 10 x 10 area, etc. Everything like handouts to posters come after this, and for good reason. Now I could go much deeper into how this breaks down, but I think you already would get the general gist of that, and that it wouldn't answer your question fully.
Most the safety advisers from Waterloo and Mississauga work at Bruce Power, one of our main sponsors. What I would suggest is you ask Dave Trumble, Lead Safety Adviser at GTR, for feedback on what you did, he is a very approachable man. If you want pm me and I can forward you on to him via email.

04-01-2008, 05:21 PM
Would you happen to have a picture of said cart?

1511 won UL Industrial Safety at Philly this year due to the vast improvement that we made to our safety program from last year. This year we gave away safety boxes to each team that contained a mini first-aid kit, the MSDS for the main battery, safety glasses, safety tips, a glow stick, safety buttons, and a few other things including a safety quiz (based on the manual) that teams returned to our pit and entered a raffle if they got a 100% for a survival kit!

We also ran build season much like a production company with weekly safety talks, incident reports, and training for all machinery before students could be allowed to use them. We documented all of this in our large green safety binder :D

I'm sure that Cynette will be posting more on this because she really helped to spearhead & enforce all of our safety efforts this year :p

04-01-2008, 05:57 PM
we stepped it up BIG TIME on Saturday Morning.Safety is a 24/7 thing, not something that can be done when convenient or as needed.

Not to disparage your team, since your efforts throughout the entire weekend are commendable - even I noticed, and I'm somewhat daft in such matters - but think of how much of a chance you'd have had if you stepped it up starting Thursday morning...

Safety is a culture, a habit, not something you do. Team 1676 does safety because, well, it hurts when you get hurt. We're not pushing for an award, we do this stuff even when nobody's watching.

The safety folks did come over and provide some good feedback, and even some recognition for a job well done. That, and the number of team members who were not killed, maimed (or even bruised), encourages us to carry on.


04-01-2008, 07:46 PM
Adding a little to Don's comments....

The 1st thing they are looking for is how deeply ingrained the safety habits, how disciplined the team is. This is evident from the very moment the team steps into the venue. This is the top priority.

Everything else is layers of icing on the cake. How well you document safety, train for safety, and perform safety outreach.

Performing a safety outreach without the ingrained safety thing going on will not help. But it will help a good team stand out.

04-01-2008, 07:50 PM
Oh, I'm completely aware safety is #1 all the time, and not just when people are watching. Thats why we built the cart in the first place, and why we built it the way we did.

Our lead mentor in years past has injured his back lifting robots on/off the field, working on it at the wrong height in the pits, etc. He was sick and tired of it, so we designed the cart. It was originally designed to be able to lift the robot right over the edge of the field and drive right up to the field border, so it only had to be lifted from waist height to the floor and back again, not carried. The field crews (moreso at Waterloo, than GTR, due to venue size) didn't want us to drive right up to the field, but it still was better than any other cart we've ever had. In the pits, its been designed with safety pins on the lift portion such that should the cable break for some odd reason, the weight of the lift+robot doesn't fall on anyone's toes. Its also built with a large chain guard over the drive chain for the lift. It allows us to put the robot at the correct height to work on whatever part we need to work on, whether its down basically on the floor so we can work on the manipulator, or up at waist height so we can work on the drive. It was also designed so that the frame of our robot will rest on the platform in such a way that keeps the wheels off of the platform, and thusly allows us to test things like autonomous mode without fearing the robot going flying across the pits. As for while its moving, its been designed so that unless you're physically sitting IN the seat, it won't drive. It also has a sensor in the bumper on the end of the platform so that should the driver accidentally hit anything (more on how this won't happen later) the drive loses power. On top of both of those, the driver must hold the safety lockout buttons on the joystick to get it to move. When its activated, it has the rotating light (from 2003 and before) to warn people it is active. We knew taking something like this to competition, we would have tons of traffic to deal with, and as such, when operated in a crowd (namely the pits, but anywhere really) it is accompanied by several people keeping the crowds clear so that the driver doesn't accidentally hit someone. Additional features include a removable table for tools/laptop, as well as removable pegs that come out of the side of the platform to hold the control board. The forks separate from the drivebase for easier transportation in our trailer, and safer lifting of it.

I'll work on posting a picture for all of you who didn't get to see it first hand at GTR/Waterloo

EDIT: Its very much like the safety guys said to us, that people don't understand things like our cart. They think its all unsafe or whatever, and the safety guys told the naysayers to actually come ask us about it... Can't say I had anyone ask me to explain its safety features, besides the safety guys.

04-01-2008, 11:20 PM
Picture is up here. (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/31195)

M. Mellott
04-02-2008, 01:15 AM
As GTR is the origin of the Safety Award, which later was adopted by FIRST, it's impressive just to receive the Honorable Mention at GTR. I know it's an award that our team hopes to earn there every year, one that is highly competitive due to so many teams there trying for it. This was the first year Team 48 was unable to attend GTR, where we've learned many lessons over the years from the ever-diligent judges from Bruce Power. It was those lessons that helped our team earn the UL Safety Award at all three regionals we attended this year.

Our kids have always put a lot of team effort into our safety program year-round, from our shop to the Regionals to our community robot demonstrations. It's those efforts that make safety a core component of our team, and those efforts turn into common practices that are most noticed by the judges at competitions from the moment we walk in the venue. Sure, we've become known for our little army of Safety Escorts, and we do safety handouts as well. But, as mentioned in previous posts, it's the little "acts of safety" that I see a student doing when they don't know someone's watching that often gets a judge's attention, and the student gets a quick compliment from the judge to help reinforce the fact that they are doing something right, not something wrong. I always loved that about GTR...a safety judge appearing seemingly out of thin air to deliver an at-a-boy (and sometimes a safety token).

I must say I've really been impressed with the creative and inspiring ways teams promote safety throughout FIRST. It's just another way FIRST is changing the mindset of the newest batch of this world's engineers.