Vex Worlds Safety Glasses

Has anyone noticed that many of the volunteers don’t wear safety glasses at the field? Isn’t this a T05 rule violation? Or do the rules only apply to the drivers at the alliance stations? I just want everyone to be safe.

Many divisional volunteers have tiresome positions for nonstop hours at a time. Forcing us (I am a divisional volunteer) to wear safety glasses, especially the whole time, would be like RECF saying they don’t actually care about us having a good experience. Which would make it much harder for them to get volunteers in the future.

Also, the age requirements for most divisional roles are high enough that RECF probably figures they can trust our judgement of safety.

So you are saying that their experience is more important than safety?

I would think RECF could get into some big trouble. They’re required for the competitors, so RECF considers it a safety issue. Volunteers for RECF should fall under OSHA rules. I’m no lawyer, but it would seem if RECF doesn’t require the same safety equipment and something happens to one of the volunteers, RECF will be liable for a lot. If, on the other hand, RECF requires the glasses and a volunteer doesn’t wear them, then RECF is in a much safer legal position.

I don’t think RECF falls under OSHA rules. It could be possible that volunteers may be choosing to not wear safety glasses, or they are not available for them to use. IIRC I had to sign a waver when I volunteered for worlds in the past.

Exactly. Volunteers waive RECF liability for their safety, so RECF could spend their resources far more wisely than forcing volunteers to wear safety glasses.

Also, VEX robots are relatively safe as long as you don’t do anything exceedingly stupid.

OSHA covers employees, not volunteers or students.

Safety glasses are only required for drive team members in the alliance stations per T05.

Per previous Q&A posts regarding safety glasses, the main concern is robots crashing and sending parts flying; volunteers are generally far enough away from the actual playing field that this wouldn’t affect them as much, from what I’ve seen. Drive team members, however, are usually standing (and often sitting / crouching) directly next to the field…

Volunteers far from the robots, like providing information by the entry, are clearly in a much safer zone. I don’t think that’s the concern.

And all such waivers are signed in good faith. They do nothing to protect RECF from any possible negligence. What they do is help protect RECF from negligence of volunteers (and competitors as competitors sign forms, too.) Here are two examples:

  1. A team is working on their robot, and someone gets cut on a tool. RECF is pretty safe, the waiver helping a lot.

  2. A team is carrying their robot to the competition field when an improperly suspended pole placed by RECF falls and hits someone in the head. The waiver isn’t going to protect RECF one bit.

So now let’s look at the current situation:

Someone from RECF asks a young volunteer to do something on a competition field. The child is not wearing safety glasses when asked and hasn’t been instructed that they are mandatory. The child’s eyes get hurt. The parent says they didn’t know their child would be knowingly put in a dangerous situation without safety equipment by a RECF employee. No, it’s not likely that waiver is going to matter much.

Meanwhile, you might consider this really only fits with children. However, legal precedent is that even if there are published rules about safety equipment, if a company is aware of violations and does nothing about those violations, the published rules won’t even protect the company fully from liability. And that really is legal precedent with adults.

I was wrong with “should.” I should have said “may well” alongside “apply” or something like that.

First, be careful here. OSHA can cover “volunteers” according to OSHA itself. Just because a position is stated to be a volunteer position does not qualify it as a volunteer position for OSHA. “Volunteers” can be considered employees if there is remuneration of some form. For example, are volunteers provided with food, lodging, etc.? Maybe some of them? If so, how much?

As for applying, this is a workplace situation for RECF members/employees, right? If volunteers are allowed to go without safety equipment wherever employees should wear safety equipment, this is going to head right toward that past precedent of negligence I mentioned above. So even if the volunteers aren’t protected by OSHA, the employees are and RECF could be found negligent based on lax safety conditions as evidenced by what they allow volunteers to do.

As I mentioned, I’m no lawyer. But I wouldn’t be so cavalier about the safety of volunteers. If they’re out front or something, sure, they’re far from danger. But if they’re permitted without safety glasses somewhere RECF insists on safety glasses for others, RECF can have a bunch of liability issues regardless of waivers and volunteer status.