Safety Award

I was wondering what different teams have done to win the Safety Award. I am the safety captain of my team and we just competed in the KC regional. There we won the Safety and Chairman’s awards. Now we are going to try to win the safety award in Atlanta. We have done a lot for safety but want to do more. We have won 3 Safety Awards and 5 Safety Star of the Days in our team’s 4 year history. We think we have a fairly good shot at the award in Atlanta but we need some more ideas. Thanks for your help.

We won the Safety Award in NJ. I think we’ve also won the Safety award in '07 and '05 but don’t quote me on that.

We have a very dedicated Safety Captain and we also use foam flooring in our pit so it’s not that hard, we have safety features built into our robot, and we usually have someone walking around the pits with various safety messages.

Add a horn to your robot cart. It has netted us safety tokens in the past, honking the horn in addition to yelling, “Robot coming through!” when traveling through the pits.

Lift with your knees, not your back, when transporting the robot (but hey, you probably already knew that one…), and always wear gloves when carrying the robot.

Safety fliers and handouts work, too. An enthusiastic safety captain who shows the judges not just his/her, but the whole team’s dedication to safety is always a plus, as well.

Generally, try to keep your pit area clean. I’m guessing you probably already knew that one, with the number of safety awards to your credit, but it still bears repeating.

Good luck in getting the safety award in Atlanta!

Keep an eye out for the safety judges and when you see them coming near alert your team. Not that someone is doing something unsafe but if they are…

We won it at Florida and will step up our knowledge, but we had no idea we would win before they announced it.

There are many things you can do to get safety tokens, but they do not garentee you the Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award.

-use the battery caps that were in the kit
-have extra safety goggle to lend out
-keep an organized, clean, and safe pit
-have small safety advise sheets, give out to other teams, and tape on the wall. Anyone from Florida will remember “Silverman Says”.
-have a battery spill kit that is clearly labeled
-have a first aid kit
-have a fire extinguisher

As a side note on the safety award:

There was a team at a regional I was attending that was trying to win a safety award. Their method was to have students take shifts walking around the pits shouting “Safety First!” in a “Bring out your dead!”/“I wish I were dead” tone of voice. In addition to boring others, bothering others, and looking completely zombied-out, they were so very unaware of their surroundings that they created safety hazards.

Please don’t use this method. Please?

We had a “Silverman says” on the bus we were using. Someone took one and put it on Jacobs back. He didn’t realize til we were on the bus, and then stuck it there. But hey, you gotta be safe even outside a robotics competition.:smiley:

Our team won the international safety award last year in Atlanta. It was obviously the highlight of our season.

IMHO, we won the award because of what we do all season long. We won because safety is a major priority and a critical mindset for everything we do. We have instilled a culture in the team that safety is top priority.

We have all mentors and students take safety tests on every machine that will be used.

We start most meetings with safety discussions or learning moments about what is expected in industry. It is more than just wearing safety glasses.

We teach about things like MSDS sheets; 5 S’s of safety; how to use a fire extinguisher and where they are located; where the first aid kit is located for each meeting and how to use the contents; sound safety; lock out devices; how to lift properly; when are gloves and hard hats required; electrical safety; etc. etc. etc.

Let me share a quick story. I had the opportunity to talk with a UL safety advisor in Atlanta. One gentleman was watching our team form afar. I started a casual conversation with him and he asked if I wanted to know what he was doing there. He indicated that many teams download safety manuals off the net and tell UL judges that they practice all safety precautions. He said that: “We talk the talk, but was observing if we walked the walk”. He was impressed that EVERY student and mentor practiced correct safety all the time and that everyone they interviewed knew all of our safety practices, not just our safety captain.

Somethings will get your team noticed in a positive or negative way. Escorting teams around the event, handing out safety items like ear plugs work to get you noticed in a positive way. Students taking off safety glasses or running at the event when they think no one is watching gets you noticed in a negative way. We tell students that they should conduct themselves in manner that they assume they are being watched at all times all year long. They are.

Hope this helps and good luck.

If you can, do some research on Team 2062 C.O.R.E. from Waukesha, WI. They won the Safety Award at Championships last year and their safety program is top notch. As I recall, the team has basically used the International Safety Standard (OHSAS 18001) as their system for their safety program.

Oh! While I was checking to make sure I had the right team number, someone from 2062 posted!!


Thank you for the kind words. They mean a great deal from a team of your caliber. Your success at winning 2 chairman awards and 1 championship in the short time that you have been a team speaks volumes about your high standards. Winning 15 awards in 5 seasons shows your desire to be the best you can be.

We feel honored that you mentioned us.

When in doubt go check out what CORE’s doing.

I got a safety token or two in Wisconsin for helping out other teams by correcting their unsafe behavior, but that’s a really risky thing to do because if you do it wrong you look like a jerk. But if you notice someone working without safety glasses, just grab their attention and point to yours, for example.

In general, to get the safety award, be safe. Being safe pays off way more than any piece of hardware will demonstrate.

For the record, I’ve always told the students on our team to be safe for the sake of being safe, not to win the safety award. So they all always wear safety glasses, and the core pit crew all have Lock Out/Tag Out tags on lanyards they put on the robot after every match, until they each have time to inspect their particular subsystem. When they are done, and all tags removed from robot, only then can the robot be turned on or sent out to the field.

Then again, over the years, I’ve seen countless teams make claims about doing things in the name of safety that actually aren’t safe or put them on shaky legal ground. Then the safety advisors pick up on this, and on one occasion they actually “harassed” (it was quite a tirade) a student on our team (to the point of her nearly crying) about why we weren’t doing the same. This incident in question involved a safety judge asking us why only mentors, and not students, were First Aid/CPR trained. Another team had claimed every student was First Aid and CPR trained, when legally you cannot be trained in First Aid or CPR until you are 16 or 17 (our high schools won’t train students until they are 17), which excludes many of the students.

Both of these bullet points are of dubious actual safety value.

For the first bullet point, how is handing out flyers about safety all day long actually safe? If anything, they just clutter up the pits and are usually thrown right away to keep our pit clean. Nothing is more annoying that working in the pits, only to have someone interrupt whatever the students are doing to hand them a flyer telling them to wear safety glasses when very clearly they are wearing safety glasses.

As for the second bullet point, the vast majority of chemical spills in industry are made worse when people try to clean them up themselves. The absolute best thing that can happen in a chemical spill is to contain the spill (such as closing a valve to shut off leaking chemical) and then evacuating the area until trained professionals can clean the spill up.

And besides, the lead acid batteries we use are non-spillable gel-cell batteries.

IMHO, being bothersome to other teams is one of the worst things you could do, mostly because it distracts them and makes them more likely to become frustrated. After one match our drive team was approached multiple times by ‘safety escorts’ who stopped us and asked if they could escort us even though we’d told them before it wasn’t necessary. If a team asks you to cease and decist[sp], please do, it makes the pits a more happy and safe place. as for safety tips: Have the entire team know the safety procedures related to injuries, fires, spills, sparking/electrical shorts etc. not just the pit people. as others have said, first aid kit and fire extinguisher should be kept in the pit as well as a daily supply[5-10] safety glasses and ear plugs. also TALK TO THE SAFETY JUDGES. they like it when you approach them.

At one point at Sac I saw someone handing out safety pamphlets who managed to startle another team’s member so much that he dropped and almost cracked a battery. :yikes:

As for safety, well…having a copy of “How to Survive a Robot Uprising” never hurts

As someone who worked at and helped to coordinate the short-staffed safety glasses stations where the safety glasses were checked in and out at the Lone Star Regional in Houston, I found that it was very helpful having students volunteer their time to help man the tables.

The judges want to understand that you, as teams, understand the importance of safety and that you share that importance with others in how you conduct yourselves in the pits and in the venue, setting safety as a priority. They want to see safety in action and role modeled. They also appreciate everyone’s sincere efforts to respect safety and to help keep it a safe competition environment. Just as in everything, the teams that get that rise to the surface. The teams who are putting on artificial airs or show, sink. Guaranteed. If you volunteer at the safety glasses table for an hour or two at any of the competitions, you can watch it happen. Guaranteed.

Just a couple of suggestions:

  • teams bring your own safety glasses. If members can buy 2 pair, buy them and share with those who forget or are short on cash. Please don’t go for cutsie or clever when purchasing the glasses, go for safety and comfort.
  • bring enough for expected guests and visitors and remind them to wear close-toed shoes that could be worn in your shop or work area.
  • remind your guests of the children under 12 rule and help make arrangements for their visits. The less you prepare your guests with/for the safety expectations for a visit to an FRC competition, the less prepared you are as a team and it shows.


At the MI State Championships, our team broke the record for safety tokens there, aprox. 165 or 167. One of the biggest things you can do it is to let safety become natural, not artificial or forced.

Some of the things that the judges noted were:

  1. In order to even step into our facilities, every member must complie with MIOSHA standards
  2. Our school system requires all high school students to undergo Red Cross Certification (CPR and AED training).
  3. We have an emergency power shut-off button in our pit.
  4. A couple times, we were questioned on where the closest AED was in the competition complex.

These are some of the things off the top of my head that i thought were key in our success. But it doesn’t hurt that our safety captain memorized some of the material data sheets and emergency procedures.

This year at the Florida Regional and in Atlanta we gave out shoes to VIP’s and other people who were not wearing closed toed shoes so they could check out the pits too…

dident win the saftey award though(we won it our rookie year in 05’:rolleyes: )

One thing that we did during build season, and brought along for the pit, was keep an accident log. When we made a potentially dangerous mistake we would record it and point out ways to avoid such occurrences in the future.