Equipment Use Release Form

EWCguy

Active Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Location
Wyoming
I work at a college that no longer has a theater program. We still have the auditorium and scene shop which the college allows the local community theater group to use. Recently, the table saw was removed by Physical Plant because someone forgot to replace the blade guard after cutting something narrow. In trying to get the saw back, I wondered if having an "I have read, understand, and will comply..." kind of equipment use release form would be a persuasive way to approach the Plant Manager.

Does anyone have examples of such a form? One-page would be lovely.

Thanks!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I work at a college that no longer has a theater program. We still have the auditorium and scene shop which the college allows the local community theater group to use. Recently, the table saw was removed by Physical Plant because someone forgot to replace the blade guard after cutting something narrow. In trying to get the saw back, I wondered if having an "I have read, understand, and will comply..." kind of equipment use release form would be a persuasive way to approach the Plant Manager.

Does anyone have examples of such a form? One-page would be lovely.

Thanks!
@EWCguy Better yet if they've actually, read, understood and LEFT THE GUARD in place.
(Optimistically using the pen provided and the fingers they still have, the same fingers they used to use to remove the guard.)
[Signing the provided form in blood would carry considerably less weight, as would the finger-less person.]
@Van @egilson1 @kicknargel , @Amiers and @josh88 Care to comment??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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MNicolai

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Fight Leukemia
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Mar 30, 2008
Location
Sarasota, FL
In general, most institutions I've worked with provide basic safety training before people can use the rooms. Probably as a matter of insurance requirements, everyone has to sign off what day/time that they received the training and understand the rules. The facility keeps this log in their records. Usually is just a list of names/dates/signatures, and who they were trained by.

That isn't training on how to be carpenter. Just that you shouldn't be a jack-wagon. They direct you where all the e-stops, dust collection, eye wash, safety glasses can be found. Basic intro to proper use of guards and the push-tools for table saws to keep your fingers away from the blade, how to avoid kickbacks, what the expectations are for returning equipment and keeping the place clean are.

If you want to impose actual rules/policies, you're best to post signage in the scene shop near the appropriate equipment with large fonts and bold/underlined text. People forget about what they were told 7 months ago in a 20-minute training session. A form is for reducing liability. If you actually want to adjust behavior you need to be more obvious with clear requirements on signage and verbal reminders.
 
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Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
Basically what Mike said.

Yes a piece of paper is nice but people will ultimately be people. If the guard is getting in their way they will remove it.

A sign saying return the equipment back to its original state would help keep the powers that be at bay when they do a walk through.

Also at my old theatre we had a guard that never left the table saw that raised and lowered and was fixed to the table somehow. I forget how.
So if you were doing big or weird sizes you could raise the guard to the appropriate height.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Basically what Mike said.

Yes a piece of paper is nice but people will ultimately be people. If the guard is getting in their way they will remove it.

A sign saying return the equipment back to its original state would help keep the powers that be at bay when they do a walk through.

Also at my old theatre we had a guard that never left the table saw that raised and lowered and was fixed to the table somehow. I forget how.
So if you were doing big or weird sizes you could raise the guard to the appropriate height.
@Amiers and @EWCguy A good table saw (A General for example) with a selection of 12" blades (maintained in GREAT condition) paired with EXCELLENT and convenient guards, adequate dust extraction and a Biesmeyer (Sp?) gate makes table sawing a pleasurable and safe experience.
This coming from an aged analog sound and lighting dude who's logged many weeks in front of a General and still has all his fingers to type with, and even both thumbs for the space bar.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I've worked in theatres that had the whole range of safety and use requirements.
The extreme was a key or key card that was assigned to you and you only after a 4 hour class and 2 hour test on each piece of equipment. You signed in every time you used a piece of equipment.
Somewhere in the middle was you would attend an equipment orientation with general instructions on being safe and tested on power on/off and safety.
Most lax is my current job where you just as someone to use whatever you need and they say ok, bring it back when you're done.
 

EWCguy

Active Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Location
Wyoming
Just so you know my environment a bit, the most recent sign said: "If I find the blade guard off again, I will take the saw away."

Yup.

No training to the few folks who used the saw, just the expectation that they knew what they were doing and this sign.
Scene shop is behind locked doors, but any time the auditorium doors are open, folks have access to the shop. Any staff member could have been down there and left off the guard, any student (when the doors are open). Sigh. There are no protocols about locking the safety switch keys (those removealbe plastic things) in the locked-and-less-keys-out tool room, a protocol which I will suggest as a minimum.

Mostly, I want the saw back so we can rip us some plywood, lauan, etc. for the upcoming build.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
Tell the plant guys you want a lockout for the switch. I’m sure they will oblige since they want to be the safety first people.

If they say no maybe breaker off the saw when not in use but that really only works if you are hardlined. As they can just run an extension cord to any other outlet.
 

Colin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Location
Eastern Massachusetts
Having people sign a release without actually conducting training first doesn't do much for safety, nor for liability I'd wager when the reasonable, recognized best practice is to control access and train users, then verify understanding and competence, then sign documentation of the training that includes language about the trainee agreeing to follow that training in order to be authorized to use the machines. Reinforce with signage, supervision and re-training at regular intervals. Your physical plant people saw signs of a dangerous work practice and took perhaps a drastic step to curb it, but if you're only considering ways to satisfy/trick them into giving the tool back then you're going about it the wrong way. I feel your pain - it's a tough situation to be in when you have work to do and don't have the support you need to improve safety and security - but the way to get what you want is to identify the people who have the power to help you and blow them away with your understanding of the safety and liability problems and your plans to solve them, not just shift liability to the users. Concentrate on how to legitimately keep people from getting hurt and then lots of liability stuff tends to automatically be taken care of.

I'm assuming that if you had the resources you needed, you would be in favor of improving safety rather than covering up or passing off the problems. I've had good results achieving this in educational settings, and perhaps you can too.

If employees are using the tools then you have explicit "shall" and "must" language from OSHA regarding tool guards - 1910.212 or 213? OSHA's woodworking tool training language uses more "should" language in my recollection - not as strong, but still there, and there is again explicit "shall" and "must" language requiring hazard assessments and PPE training. That's a very strong starting place for convincing your money people to get behind you.

Looking beyond employee users, find out who handles insurance at the college, explain the state of things, and ask them to follow up with the insurance provider who will definitely take issue with some things and require fixes to maintain coverage. Explain the fixes in advance so they can agree to them rather than make up their own, because the easiest fix for them to make up is to just get rid of the tools.

These are all politically sensitive things - it's important to approach with an attitude that disarms people who may feel defensive, while also being crystal clear about how safety, liability, and the successful operations of the institution are being affected. Bring some easy and cheap solutions to the table right away:

- I've never met a tool that can't be locked out one way or another. It isn't expensive. Products exist for older tools that don't come with the feature already, or for tools with annoying little plastic bits that get lost when you pull them out of the switch. I like things with padlocks. Do that, and then start the harder discussion about who gets the keys and who supervises work.

- If employees are using these tools, a hazard assessment and training program is required. Not having one can get the institution in big trouble. Figure out who will do the training and keep the records. This too is not very expensive, but takes some time to get up and running. Offer to do it.

- Reach a consensus about what non-employees should be allowed to access. This might be different for students versus outside users, or maybe not. When our community theater uses my shop they get the walls, floor and ceiling, and that's it. They have to bring their own tools and even step ladders because I have an ever-longer list of experience-based reasons to not let them touch mine. I also supervise their residency, and when I see an unsafe work practice I make them stop and correct it. If they don't, they get booted out right away. I bet your institution, like mine, doesn't want a headline to read "Mother of Three Dies in Eastern Wyoming College Machine Shop" regardless of who is at fault. The degree of access and supervision may be variable from place to place, but the motivation for the rules ought to be pretty universal.

- If there's revenue generation at stake from rentals, explain that you're not trying to muck that up but rather position the college to maintain and improve this asset they have. If someone gets killed in their shop that's going to chill the heck out of their revenue stream while the headlines and investigations and lawsuits are playing out. If they improve security and training in the facility, they can actually enable more use than before. Things won't get lost and broken. Rental clients will behave themselves better and make less work for staff.

And if you're the TD for the space, why aren't you the one administering safety programs within? Why is the physical plant butting in? It sounds like you're throwing up your hands in exasperation, and I bet you've got good reasons to, but someone has to take charge and it shouldn't be trades guys who don't have a clue about theater work. If you demonstrate not just your competence but also your unique understanding of this particular facility and its activities then you ought to be allowed to take your saw back and impose some order to keep people and property safe in your facility. Easier said than done, but again I've had lots of success building that trust from the ground up and you could too. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your position at the college, but it sure sounds like you should be the one making the rules.
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
Tell the plant guys you want a lockout for the switch. I’m sure they will oblige since they want to be the safety first people.

If they say no maybe breaker off the saw when not in use but that really only works if you are hardlined. As they can just run an extension cord to any other outlet.
Unless you hard wire it to the locked circuit?