Lab Policies

Lab Policies

  1. General
    1. Absolutely no personal projects.
    2. Only students, faculty, and staff associated with Penn State University are permitted in the lab areas unless special permission is obtained beforehand.
    3. Anyone that appears to be under the influence of any controlled substance (alcohol, medication, or drugs) will be denied entrance into the labs. Additionally, if you personally do not feel well enough to maintain the mental focus or strength to safely perform your work or operate the machinery, you should refrain from working in the labs.
    4. No one is permitted to be working in the lab areas alone. A member of the lab staff must be in an adjoining lab area.
    5. All work areas are to be kept clean. Anything left in a common area may be discarded if the project owner cannot be found. Any projects requiring a dedicated space must be arranged with the Engineering Lab Supervisor. Dedicated spaces are to be kept organized. It is highly suggested that anyone working on a project in the projects labs allocate 10-15 minutes prior to when they must leave to clean up.
    6. Raw material supplies located in 106 Force should be approved by a member of the lab staff prior to use. All sharp edges should be deburred before returning extra to the racks.
    7. Observe all posted warning signs and labels.
    8. Respect the projects and tools of others. Respect the lab equipment and facilities. Any sort of vandalism will result in escalation to Academic Affairs.
    9. Any supplies that are low in inventory should be reported to the Lab Supervisor.
    10. Any damaged equipment must be reported to the Lab Supervisor to facilitate repair, replacement or other appropriate action. Do not attempt to repair damaged equipment.
    11. Any hot work to be performed outside of the welding area needs a Hot Work Permit, obtained from the Lab Supervisor. After the hot work is performed, a fire watch is necessary for 30 minutes afterwards. Any issued Hot Work Permit is only valid for 24 hours.
    12. Any tools or equipment permanently located in a lab should not be removed from that lab. No equipment should be removed from any lab or storage space without approval from the lab supervisor.
    13. Safety glasses are to be worn during any drilling, cutting, soldering, hammering, sanding or machining operation. Safety glasses are to be provided by the individual user. Safety glasses are defined by protective lenses that meet ANSI Z87.1 rating and display such rating either on the stems or lenses.
    14. Long hair must be tied back to eliminate the chance of it becoming entangled in rotating machinery.
    15. No open-toed shoes are permitted in any project labs.
    16. No horseplay will be tolerated in the project labs or machine shop.
    17. Always walk in the lab. Do not run as metal grinding dust, chips, coolant or saw dust present a slippery condition.
    18. Any liquid, grease, dust, or chips must be cleaned up in an appropriate timeframe.
    19. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary. PPE may include gloves, hard hats, hearing protection, respiratory protection, special protective clothing, and welding masks. Gloves are not to be worn when operating machinery.
    20. All painting should be conducted in the grassy area behind the building. Painting on the sidewalks or driveways is absolutely prohibited.
    21. Don't rush your work. Careless or hurried work rarely produces a good product and often creates a safety hazard.
    22. Use extreme caution when using a ladder in any of the labs. Adhere to all warnings and general ladder safety. Do not over reach while on a ladder.
    23. All accidents, no matter how minor, need to be reported to the Lab Supervisor.
    24. Use caution when handling long sections of metal stock - accidentally contacting a light fixture with the stock, for example, could cause severe electrical burns.
    25. Keep pathways to exits clear.
    26. Do not place items in front of fire extinguishers.
    27. Always be aware of where the closest fire extinguisher is and what type of extinguisher it is.
    28. Never alter a tool or piece of equipment in a manner which reduces its effectiveness or safety.
    29. Never use a tool until you've received instruction on how to handle it properly.
    30. Use caution when carrying sharp tools. Uncovered points should be carried point down.
    31. Only use sharp tools. Dull tools create a safety hazard and cause excessive wear on equipment.
    32. When cutting, always cut away from the body. All cutting tools should be directed away from aisle areas and others working in close proximity.
    33. Watch for and remove any nails, screws, or other obstructions when cutting that can dull or damage the cutting tool.
    34. Never test the sharpness of a tool with your finger.
    35. Measure twice, cut once.
    36. All activities in the labs must be conducted in a professional and respectful manner. Foul language, disrespectful actions or speech, and derogatory actions or speech will not be tolerated to any degree.
    37. All policies apply equally to all engineering classroom labs, project labs, and shops.
  2. Emergency Procedures
    1. Evacuate
      1. Leave the area of concern in an expeditious and controlled manner. Alert all others in the area of the emergency and direct/assist the min departing to a safer location.
      2. Without endangering yourself or others, quickly remove any possible victims to a safer area with access to fresh air, paying special attention to injuries (spinal cord injuries, deep punctures, etc.). Immediately seek medical attention for those who have been injured by calling 911.
    2. Confine
      1. Close all doors and isolate the area. Restrict access to the area and prevent people, other than emergency personnel, from entering the area.
    3. Report
      1. From a safe place; call the first available person on the following list. If using a university telephone, only use the last four digits of each telephone number for faster access.
        • Craig Fitzgerald — 814-949-5699, Engineering Lab Supervisor, 105 Force
        • Lucas Jones — 814-949-5573, Engineering Lab Coordinator, 105 Force
        • Thomas Hatch — 814-940-3386, Engineering Lab Coordinator, 105 Force
        • Michael Hicks — 814-940-3358, Engineering Lab Coordinator, 207A Force
        • Jeffery Covino — 814-949-5054, Engineering Lab Coordinator, 206M Aaron
        • Dr. Jungwoo Ryoo — 814-949-5243, Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology Division Head
        • Penn State Altoona University Police — 814-949-5222
      2. If no one from this list is available, contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 814-865-6391.
      3. Report your emergency, give your name, telephone number, location, location of the emergency, type of emergency, number of injured and extent of injuries, and the safest route to the location. Stay by that telephone.
    4. Secure
      1. Until the contacted personnel arrive, block off all areas leading to the accident location, lock doors, post warning signs and warning tape, and alert others of the situation.
      2. Post personnel by commonly used entrances to the area to help direct others.
  3. Equipment Check-out
    1. Equipment located in the equipment office (105 Force) labeled with an inventory control barcode must be checked out with the inventory control system.
    2. Equipment on loan from the equipment office is not permitted to leave campus property unless an Equipment Loan Form is completed.
    3. Most items on loan from the equipment office should be returned before the labs close that day. Special permission must be obtained for any multiple-day or longer periods.
    4. Equipment that is part of a larger set (a drill bit out of a set for example), should be checked out as a set, not individually.
    5. Damaged equipment should be reported when returned. This is merely to facilitate replacement, not necessarily disciplinary. The staff understands that equipment periodically breaks. Any equipment found to be intentionally damaged may result in disciplinary action.
  4. Machine Shop
    1. General
      1. Loose clothing and jewelry are not permitted in the machine shop.
      2. Always take the time to set up a proper work area and work piece fixturing. It is not uncommon to spend 5 or 10 minutes setting up for a cut that takes 1 minute or less. Work should always be clamped or fixtured properly to assure accuracy and safety.
      3. Do not machine a material until you know what it is and how it should be handled. Even different alloys of a common metal machine differently.
      4. Place scrap material into the appropriate receptacles. A bin for steel and a bin for aluminum are located in the machine shop (107 Force).
      5. Grinding with equipment other than the grinding wheel is prohibited in the machine shop. Angle grinders should be used in the projects lab or outside and all grinding dust should be cleaned up immediately.
      6. Listen to the machines. If something doesn't sound right, stop and ask for assistance. You may be doing something wrong or the machine may be damaged.
      7. Never use a machine that has been red-tagged and is out of service.
      8. Always check a piece of equipment prior to turning it on. Check the alignment of moving parts, breakage of parts, and cracks. Report any damage or malfunction.
      9. Never attempt to remove chips or cuttings with your hands or while the machine is running. Chip brushes are available and should be used with the machine stopped.
      10. Clean up your work area immediately after finishing your work.
      11. Always run a machine at the proper speed. Feed rates that are too slow can work harden the material and feed rates that are too high can damage tooling and machines.
      12. Never leave a machine running. Stay with a machine until it has come to a complete stop.
      13. Before starting a machine, check that wrenches and keys have been removed.
    2. Overhead crane
      1. Prior to any use, the overhead crane must be inspected visually by the operator. Any cracks, damaged links, or frayed slings or straps should be reported immediately.
      2. The operator is responsible for knowing where the electrical disconnect is located. It is located in the electrical panel on the wall between the projects lab and machine shop. Also, the emergency power disconnect may be used.
      3. The pre-use checklist on the crane should be performed and removed before using the crane. After use, the checklist should be re-hung on the crane.
      4. Safe lifting practices must be observed to ensure the safety of the equipment and any operators or bystanders.
    3. Grinding Wheel
      1. Always stand to the side of the grinder when starting the machine
      2. Never grind non-ferrous metals. This includes aluminum, brass, bronze, and others. Only grind ferrous metals such as steel.
      3. Keep hands clear of the grinding wheels.
      4. Do not persistently grind in one location. This causes the expensive grinding stones to wear unevenly and will require premature replacement.
      5. Use caution as ground metals will become very hot.
    4. Vertical Bandsaw
      1. Do not try to force material through the blade. Let the machine do the work.
      2. If the blade is dull and in need of replacement, notify the lab supervisor.
      3. Always adjust the upper blade guide to the lowest position. This will help the blade run properly and minimize the exposure to the dangerous blade.
    5. Horizontal Bandsaw
      1. Always make sure material is properly clamped
      2. Do not allow the auto-feed mechanism to run too fast. Start at the slowest speed and increase as necessary.
      3. Use coolant when cutting metal. Make sure any coolant drips are cleaned up when complete.
    6. Arbor Press
      1. The arbor press is capable of creating large forces. Extreme care should be taken to prevent the sudden release of these forces.
      2. Do not hang on the handle to create enough force.
    7. Iron Worker
      1. Never attempt to change any of the end tooling with the machine on. Make sure the machine is off.
      2. Keep fingers clear of all moving parts.
      3. Adjust the guides and machine parts to accommodate the proper size of material.
      4. When setting up the punch, make sure the punch and die are properly lined up prior to final tightening.
    8. Drill Press
      1. Always make sure the material being drilled is secured in a vise.
      2. Large holes should be drilled by drilling smaller holes first, then stepping up in size.
      3. The blue drill press toolbox can be checked out from the equipment office (105 Force). It contains most of the items needed for the drill press.
    9. Sand Blaster
      1. Use care not to sand blast the gloves.
    10. Belt and Disc Sander
      1. Keep the workpiece against the platforms.
      2. Keep hands clear of the sanding belt and disc.
      3. Do not persistently sand in one location. This will unevenly wear the sanding material.
      4. Watch for misalignment of the belt. Stop the machine immediately and notify the lab supervisor if this is observed.
    11. Welding Equipment
      1. Weld only in the welding area.
      2. If you must unavoidably weld outside the welding area, a Hot Work Permit is required.
      3. Welding gas must be turned off when you are done.
      4. The ventilation system in the welding area must be activated when welding.
      5. Proper personal protective equipment is required. This includes welding masks, gloves, jackets and more. Be careful of gloves or other clothing that allow welding sparks to be trapped against the skin.
      6. Do not weld around any flammable materials. These must be cleaned up prior to starting any welding.
      7. Do not attempt to weld galvanized steel.
    12. Mills and Lathes
      1. Only those with proper training are permitted to use the mills and lathes.
      2. Do not run these machines too fast to get your work done quicker.
      3. Use coolant as necessary.
      4. Keep the machining tool carts closed during operation to avoid chips inside the carts.
    13. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
      1. When changing the blade, make sure the power is disconnected by unplugging the power cord.
      2. Keep fingers away from the blade. Use clamps to hold materials in place.
      3. Know how to use all stops, motion controls, and set-up devices prior to making any cuts.
    14. Soldering Equipment
      1. Always wear safety glasses when using soldering equipment.
      2. When using the cleaning sponge, ensure sponge is damp to prevent burning the sponge.
      3. Maintain tip cleanliness before, during, and after working with soldering equipment.
      4. If the equipment is not clean and in good working order, notify the lab supervisor.
      5. Any shortage in soldering supplies, in either the kits or soldering stations, should be reported to lab staff.
  5. Chemicals
    1. Any chemicals brought into the Engineering Labs must have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on file.
    2. Any chemicals stored in the labs should be stored safely and inventoried with the Lab Supervisor. Flammable chemicals should be stored in one of the two yellow flammables lockers.
    3. Any waste chemicals must be disposed of properly. Contact a member of the lab staff to determine the appropriate method. Absolutely no chemicals are to be discarded in the sink or drain.
    4. All chemicals stored in the flammables lockers or compressed gases in the cylinder cage are inventoried. Depleted containers and new containers must be recorded.
    5. Any chemicals with dangerous fumes must be treated properly and cannot be allowed to enter the building air system.
    6. All containers should be properly labeled at all times, identifying the contents.
  6. Disciplinary Action
    1. Any violation in these policies may result in disciplinary action ranging from a verbal warning to refusal of entrance into the lab areas and are subject to the discretion of the Engineering Lab Supervisor. Additionally, offenses may be escalated to the office of Academic Affairs, campus security, or another appropriate level of authority.