Safety should always be the highest priority in any STEM classroom or makerspace. Developing a “Culture of Safety” within your space allows participants to safely use equipment and tools to turn their ideas into reality. Students sign a contract to agree to a “Culture of Safety” and learn about safety exceptions. Signing a safety contract helps to keep students accountable.
Signing the safety contracts as part of an art project engages student creativity and acts as a visual reminder of their commitment to safety. Students feel ownership of the makerspace when they help research and present rules and expectations, use the Designing a Makerspace activity to have students research and develop their own safety expectations.
Safety Contract, Lesson Plan, and Art Project
Use the following guide to help create a student-led safety system using the following steps. Any section of this guide can be modified to meet your specific needs.
- Student research safety expectations using Designing a Makerspace activity
- Culture of safety presentation
- Student Safety Contract
- Safety Contract Art Project
Culture of Safety
The core principal of safety is Respect. Individuals working in a makerspace respect themselves and others and keep safety as their number one priority at all times. Rather than setting a list of rules, individuals in the makerspace must understand and adopt a culture of safety. A set of universal guidelines and expectations will help students use good judgement and choose the safest option.
Culture of Safety: Changing our attitudes and beliefs so that safety is our highest priority for the safety of ourselves and others.
- Use good judgement and common sense
- Always use the safety option
- Ask for help if you think something might be unsafe
- Only use tools you are certified on
- Always use tools properly
- Always use appropriate safety protection equipment
- No food or drinks
- Keep space organized and clean
- No goofing around
Before students can use equipment, it important they understand safety expectations and sign a contract to adopt a culture of safety. For many students, signing a safety contract may be the first contract they have signed and this can be an important act.
Students review the safety guidelines and rewrite the entire sentence ” “I (Insert Name) agree to adopt a culture of safety at all times while in the Engineering FABLAB and agree to all the statements above.”
Safety contracts should be filed and referenced later if a student is behaving in an unsafe manner. Two examples are provided, one has a fill in the blanks which follows the presentation above.
Safety effects every person in the makerspace and unsafe behavior can not be tolerated. There must be a consequence for any unsafe behavior. Probation is a time for students to reflect on unsafe behavior and how their actions effect themselves and others. Students who act in an unsafe way can not continue to work in the makerspace until they have reflected on their actions and agreed to adopt a culture of safety. While students are on probation they are not allowed to use tools and equipment until they reflect on the following questions.
- What Happened: Describe the scenario using “I-statements”
- Consequences: How could your actions have led to an injury?
- Culture of Safety: Why is a culture of safety so important?
- The Future: How will you ensure you are safe in the future?
It important that everyone is treated equally when it comes to safety, including adult supervisors. Probation should only be used for safety violations and not for other discipline problems such as being tardy or participation.