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A Unified and Collaborative Approach to Risk Classification for Fabrication and Library Spaces

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


Daniela Faas Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Dr. Faas is a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and the Director of Design and Fabrication Operations at Olin College in Needham, MA. Prior to joining Olin College, Dr. Faas was the senior preceptor in design instruction at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University. Dr. Faas was a Shapiro postdoctoral fellow in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT after receiving her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction from Iowa State University. Dr. Faas graduated from Bucknell University with her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and joint B.S./B.A. in Mechanical Engineering and International Relations. Dr. Faas is currently a research affiliate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Her research focuses on developing low cost immersive Virtual Reality applications for products and systems, early stage design process and methodology and engineering education.

Research interests: virtual reality (VR) applications in mechanical design, design methodology and engineering education.

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Emily Ferrier Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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This paper describes an effort to redesign risk assessment for tools and equipment across our campus. Existing classification schemas for assessing tool risk and safety are often restrictive and intimidating. The previous risk classification framework at ABC College did not address the addition of fabrication capabilities in learning spaces outside of the original machine shop, including the library, research labs, and studio classrooms. Furthermore, the old system was limited to manufacturing equipment located in the machine shop and did not address non-powered tools. As a result of these limitations, our risk classification system was burdensome and of out of sync with the reality of running hands-on experiential engineering design courses. This often lead to conflicting applications and interpretations of how different learning spaces on campus acquire tools, rate them for risk, determine access, training requirements and materials usage policies. The goal of the new risk assessment framework is to unify safety and risk management across several learning spaces in order to consistently communicate pathways for the community to acquire, access training and use tools.

The new risk assessment tool separates risk to the tool (and replacement cost), risk to the environment, and risk to the user and bystanders. This allows dynamic and flexible adaptations to the risk level based on discrete circumstances relative to the space, materials, level of supervision and other factors. This paper outlines the process for applying this flexible assessment tool to different scenarios to see how other spaces can adapt access policies, training requirements, and acquisition workflows to make resources more accessible. This framework is unique because it is being applied to both library and shop spaces at ABC College.

Faas, D., & Ferrier, E. (2019, June), A Unified and Collaborative Approach to Risk Classification for Fabrication and Library Spaces Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32015

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