FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Safety Update

Jan 20, 2020 Written by Barb Guthrie, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability at UL and proud Safety Advisor.



Hello FIRST Robotics Competition Teams,

As an electrical engineer who has had the privilege of serving as a Safety Advisor at FIRST Robotics Competitions for many years, it is truly my honor to be a contributor for the FRC blog.

For more than 125 years, UL – a mission driven company – has been working for a safer, more secure and sustainable world through our testing and certification of products. Each year, over 22 billion UL Marks appear on products found by UL to be in compliance with safety standards. You’ve probably seen the mark on your computers, hoverboard, as well as the motors, batteries, circuit boards and wiring you use in your robots. Our mission comes to life in many ways including our long-standing partnership with FIRST. Over the past year, our team at UL has worked closely with FIRST staff to look at ways we can build upon the current program and foster a culture of safety, second to none. We are excited to share with you below many enhancements which include an opportunity for you and your team to learn about and engage on important safety topics through the brand-new Safety Learning Portal.

New This Year - UL & FIRST Robotics Competition Safety Learning Portal

We are very pleased to announce that online safety training is now available for all FIRST Robotics Competition teams through the Safety Learning Portal. FRC teams are encouraged to expand their safety knowledge by completing UL safety-related training courses. Topics include:

  • UL/FIRST Safety Manual Training
  • Fire Extinguisher and Safety Awareness
  • Hand and Power Tool Safety Awareness
  • Hazard Communication – Safety Data Sheets
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Awareness
  • Recognizing Electrical Hazards Awareness
  • Lockout/Tagout Awareness
  • Hearing Conservation Awareness

The portal is a valuable resource to all team members and mentors. Training modules can be assigned to team members to view independently or Safety Captains/Mentors can show the training in a group setting. Every team member who completes a training module will earn an awesome virtual badge! A great accomplishment to showcase in the pits. Visit the FIRST Safety Page to learn more and register for the Safety Learning Portal.

Safety Managers & UL Safety Advisors

Creating a culture of safety is a top priority for both UL and FIRST. As such, a dedicated, trained Safety Manager and/or UL Safety Advisor will be at every event in 2020. The Safety Manager is a local volunteer who has been trained by UL and FIRST to help promote safety at FIRST events. The Safety Manager/UL Safety Advisor is responsible for hosting the safety captain’s meetings and presenting daily Safety Recognition awards.

Daily Safety Recognition

In addition to some of the other improvements we have been developing, we have also redesigned daily Safety Recognition at events. Safety Captains that go above and beyond to create a culture of safety will have an opportunity to win “Safety All Star.” This recognition replaces the Star of the Day and Pit of the Day awards. All Safety Captains are eligible for the “Safety All Star”. Safety All Star nomination cards will be distributed to all teams each day of the competition so they can cast their vote.

Safety Award

Teams will continue to have the opportunity to win the coveted UL Safety Award. As mentioned in the 2020 Season Judging Update, Judges will work in collaboration with UL Safety Advisors for the Safety Award. You can read more details about this change here.

Safety Animation Award Winner

We are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Safety Animation: Team 3100, Lightning Turtles from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, USA. You can view their video below:


We also want to congratulate this year’s runners up:

  • Team 2228, CougarTech, from Honeoye Falls, New York, USA
  • Team 4048, Redshift, from Westborough, Massachusetts, USA


We’re really excited about these updates and opportunities and the continued growth of FIRST!  We wish you a safe and successful 2020 season!

Barb Guthrie

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There is a glitch with the course, when I try to load up a incomplete course it is stuck on the loading screen and no matter how many times I try and even resseting my computer, it is still stuck on the loading screen. Can you help me fix this glitch?

Hi Matthew, 
Please email so we can help you with your specific issue in the safety portal.

Fiona Hanlon
FRC Program Specialist

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