Pit Safety

Here's a guide to all things pit safety, though only a supplement to the FIRST FRC Safety Manual.

Required Materials & Knowledge

This section discusses the following materials:

  • MSDS
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Battery Spill Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Safety Training Documents

(Materials) Safety Data Sheets

An MSDS is a data sheet (usually many sheets) on safe practices with a particular potentially hazardous substance (i.e. batteries, epoxy, duct tape, water).

Here is an example for 12V Interstate Batteries. According to the SDS,

  • if battery acid contacts eyes, flush eyes with cool water for 15 min, then seek medical attention
  • acid is not removable from leather
  • they suggest using sodium carbonate or calcium oxide to neutralize spills

(M)SDS sheets need to be provided in an easily accessible form for safety inspections. You should read over a couple at least, in order to familiarize yourself with the format and important practices.

Fire Extinguishers

There needs to be at least one (preferably ABC) unexpired fire extinguisher on hand.

Sometimes, you will be asked the P.A.S.S. method for using fire extinguishers:

Pull the pin.
Aim the hose (important to do before squeezing).
Squeeze the handle.
Sweep or Strafe the flame at its base.

Battery Spill Kit

A "proper" battery spill kit contains a sealable, spill-proof container large enough to fit a battery, a box of nitrile gloves, dustpan and brush OR vacuum, several boxes of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and a means for mixing the baking soda with the acid.

Baking soda does not expire (as in decrease in effectiveness) over time (only for food-safe purposes), although it will decompose into sodium carbonate at ~50 degrees C.

However, sodium carbonate is just as effective at neutralizing acids, and will not decompose until ~400 degrees C.

Battery Spill Procedures

  1. Put on nitrile gloves.
  2. Pour baking soda onto the spill until the acid is completely neutralized. Mix the baking soda into the acid.
  3. Using either a vacuum or a brush and dustpan, dispose of the neutralized salt. (Caution: vacuuming unneutralized acid can be damaging to the vacuum)

First Aid Kit

Extensiveness depends, but everything should be unexpired. If an item's there, you should know how and why it's used.

Safety Training Documents

At a minimum, you need to be able to prove that everyone has passed the safety training by providing a list of everyone who has completed it. This should be otherwise kept confidential.

Depending on how much the team is going for the safety award, more details on the safety curriculum can be given/proven with references, etc.

During Competition

General Safety

Read the FRC Safety Manual.

Safety Captain Meeting

Each day of the competition, there is a safety captain meeting with the Lead Safety Inspectors. Each team is supposed to send one representative to attend (usually about 15 minutes).

Safety Inspection

For district qualifiers and the district championship, safety inspectors will come around to each team for a safety inspection (at the world championship, the safety inspection is optional).

Primarily, the inspection is answering questions and showing where all the required items are and that you know how to use all the items. Questions usually involve:

  • do you have an MSDS for...?
  • if someone nearby suddenly got cut, what items would you use?
  • can you demonstrate how to clean up a battery spill?
  • when does your...expire?
  • have you discussed an emergency action plan with your team for this competition?
Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on Dec 28, 2017, 6:37:49 PM