FRC Blog

Safety, Safety, Safety

Dec 04, 2020 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition

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This season, as in every season, safety is the top priority for FIRST Robotics Competition.

In 2020, we’re dealing with a heightened safety concern, infectious disease, in the form of COVID-19. Earlier, we provided some guidance on dealing with this here, but the basics are pretty simple. Listen to your organization and experts in your area, consider your unique situation, and have a plan. ‘Consider your unique situation’ is a critical step here. Even if the guidance you are being given is wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance, that may not be enough. You may have an immunocompromised team member, or work in an area with at-risk individuals who are not team members. You may find that the only way you can safely meet is to do so remotely. Only you can decide if measures stricter than those recommended are needed in your individual circumstance.

Most of the 2021 Season Challenges are designed so they can be completed through remote collaboration. Only the robot skills challenge requires a minimal number of team members to gather. This means you can have a successful season without ever meeting in person, if you feel that’s the safest approach for your team.

We recently released the 2021 FRC Safety Manual.  Please check it out! You will notice a few differences. Among them, the manual is now for FIRST Tech Challenge teams as well as FRC teams. Also, we’ve added a section about dealing with COVID-19.

We’re releasing this updated safety manual knowing that while many teams will not be able to meet safely this season, some surely will, and robot safety is still important! Also, please note that while this manual has an ‘Event Safety’ section as always, we don’t mean this to imply we think we are having official events (we don’t yet know) or that this section includes all the safety precautions that will be taken at those events if we have them (it almost certainly doesn’t). Decisions about events, and about what safety will look like at events if they happen, will be made later.

And don’t forget about the Safety Animation Award sponsored by UL! The deadline to submit is January 14th. Details here.

Stay safe, all!

Frank

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