Robot Manipulator Safety Rules

Note: Make sure to review the General Usage Guidelines, particularly for information about responding to injuries and emergencies.


  1. The faculty sponsor must submit a project request, complete a risk hazard assessment, obtain approval from the CfA operations committee prior to any experimentation (message the Lab Manager John M. Hart to begin this discussion).
  2. The faculty sponsor must ensure that all project personnel undergo lab safety training and project-specific safety training. The faculty sponsor must log names and dates of project-specific training.
  3. The workspace of robots that pose significant risk of minor or major injury (large and/or non-collaborative robots) shall have their workspace marked off with appropriate floor tape, safety barriers, and/or signage.
  4. Robots that pose significant risk of major injury shall have indicator lights around the robot’s workspace that activate when the robot’s movement is permitted and/or is placed in autonomous mode.
  5. Experiments that involve study personnel or humans subjects performing close-proximity interaction with a robot must have a safety plan describing how persons will be instructed to avoid collisions, pinch points, and other hazards on the robot. The plan should be kept on file with the Lab Manager John M. Hart.



  1. Read the safety sections of the manufacturer’s manual before operating a robot for the first time.
  2. E-stops must be operational and within reach at all times when the robot is powered on.
  3. When approaching a damaged or possibly stuck robot arm, first remove the power and be wearing proper protection equipment (safety glasses, shoes, attire, etc.)
  4. Before robot operation:
    • Check for signs of damage to the robots, observe if there are any fluid spills, broken wires, loose cables, etc.
    • Dress properly and use appropriate safety equipment:
      • Wear safety glasses and other suitable PPE
      • Remove loose-fitting clothing (ties, scarves, extra-long or loose sleeves, etc.)
      • Tie up long hair, etc.
    • If uncertain of the safety of the operation to be undertaken, notify the IRL Lab Manager or other CSL faculty or staff and obtain guidance before proceeding.
    • Use extra caution when performing motion experiments for the first time or if recovering from a collision. When running any new code, observe the robot carefully with a hand on the E-Stop (Emergency-Stop) button
  5. During robot operation:
    • Everyone in the vicinity of the robot must be mentally alert and paying attention (no headphones, etc.)
    • Have a safety-buddy present when the robot is performing any autonomous function.
    • E-Stop pushbuttons must always be within reach of any person working with the robot
    • Before starting any robot movement, communicate with others loud and deliberately on the operation about to be executed, such as “Starting robot motion”
    • For collaborative robots (ISO/TS 15066:2016), personnel can be within the robot’s workspace while the robot is performing autonomous functions, but it is highly recommended to avoid entering the robot’s workspace unless necessary.
    • For non-collaborative robots, all personnel must be outside of the robot workspace while the robot is performing any autonomous function.
    • Disable the robot after experimentation is complete.