04 – First Aid

Understanding the basic principles of what to do in an emergency is vital for handling a potential crisis. This Post tries to reiterate some of the fundamentals that all of you should have from your experiences in first aid courses or your daily life and tries to teach a practical approach to first aid that everyone can remember and follow on any confidence level. 

The fight or flight response is an automatic psychological reaction everyone experiences in high-stress or frightening situations. The perception of thread activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee.

This same response kicks in when we are confronted with an emergency: Some people leave the scene, and some jump right in. Both reactions are problematic in their own way. The first one is obvious to most. Leaving a person in need alone is something we should not do. The second one is less obvious. The fight response leads to people helping others no matter what. This can be detrimental if secondary dangers are involved, and a rescue mission can turn into an accident with even more people involved than before.

So first things first: Before helping someone, make sure you stay out of harm’s way yourself.

Emergency Situation

Emergencies are highly stressful situations. Naturally, the question emerges: What can I do when an accident happens? We answer this question as follows.

Make sure to involve others!

This is a simple way of doing what needs to be done to get a successful help mission on the way. Others can take care of the things that I do not remember or the things that I’m afraid of, and thanks to the fight or flight response, you will likely find someone ready to jump in and help without hesitation.

Please study the pictograms listed here very carefully. Here you will find the most important information in the event of an emergency.

First Aid

Minor injuries and, in particular, severe bleeding should be treated as first aid by the persons immediately on the scene. Easily accessible first aid kits are available in the Raplab, which can be used to treat injured people.

Before you start working, please familiarize yourself with the areas and report to the responsible person if you used something from the first aid kit. This procedure ensures that things like bandaids and disinfectants get replaced immediately. The content of the first aid kits ist listed in the picture below.

Eye Wash

If chemicals or small particles get into the eye despite wearing safety goggles, these must be rinsed out immediately. Eye rinse stations are located in the exact locations of the first aid kits.

Rinse your eyes with the whole bottle in the unlikely event of getting some dust or debris in your eyes. Report any use to the workshop responsible person immediately to ensure that the station gets replaced. Once opened, the bottles need to be disposed of due to hygienic concerns.

  1. Take a bottle
  2. Turn the cap until the safety lid perforates the protective covering
  3. Tilt your head back and start rinsing your eye
  4. Rinse for approximately 2min

02 – Dress Code at Raplab

Using the term «dress code» in connection with a workshop may be a little confusing at first. Of course, the definition of certain clothing rules is not about imposing on our users how colourful or not they should appear on our facilities. It is, once again, all about safety. Below you will find the outfits we do not wish to see. And we would like to point out in advance: the Raplab staff will kindly but firmly remind you to make adjustments in case of need.

The following is a checklist for safe workwear! These items or things could get caught in a machine, leading to a bad accident.

(Pictures to be updated)


  • No rings on your hand
  • Long hair tied up
  • No bracelets on your wrist
  • No long necklace
  • No headphones
  • No scarf
  • No gloves when working with rotating machines
  • Closed and flat shoes with good soles
  • No jackets
  • No backpacks
  • No laces of all sorts that dangle from your cloths


01 – Safety Factors

Risk Awareness

In this post, we’re going to explore some of the factors that dramatically affect our judgment and mental capabilities. We will show that assessing complex situations can easily be impaired by overconfidence, sleep deprivation, stress, or substance abuse. 

No safety mechanism can prevent human error or just plain wrong judgment. Showing signs of one or more of the following points should raise a flag and lead to reconsidering the task at hand – be it live-changing decisions or picking up a power tool!



Overconfidence is a sneaky thing that enters our minds often in unexpected ways. An obvious way would be someone who believes in their abilities to the extent that they feel that advice from others is unnecessary. A less obvious form of overconfidence comes from the exact opposite – someone that is, for some reason, afraid of asking others for help. Both tendencies lead to a skewed self-assessment that potentially promotes harmful behavior. 

We have to tell you upfront that there are no precautions against this issue other than growing awareness by talking and writing about it. That said, we want you to know that if you have even the slightest doubt about something you have to do in our workshops – always ask first!


Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation and long working hours seem part of the cultural understanding of what a good architect must be like. Take a moment to think about this – you are part of this cultural environment, and you can transform it to make it more accessible and inclusive. 

To the best of our knowledge, there is no scientific evidence (see further reading) that this behavior benefits your well-being. Your responsibility is to get enough sleep and be ready to work at peak academic performance! 

Further reading:

Lack of sleep and cognitive impairment
Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety

03 – Personal Protective Equipment

PPE at Raplab

In most cases, the safety features on machines and tools do not adequately protect you from noise, flying debris, dust, or dropping something on your feet. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comes into play when all other workplace safety measures fail. The different types of equipment typically used in the Raplab are listed below.

Hearing Protection

At the Raplab, we consider protection against noise to be one of the most important safety aspects. Whenever we notice unprotected ears, we remind our users to wear ear protection. 85 decibel is the maximum recommended level for human exposure over 8 hours and is considered the threshold from which sounds can adversely affect human hearing.

Noise Levels

Faint and soft
20 dB – leaves rustling
30 dB – whisper
40 dB – quiet library

60 dB  – conversation

70 dB – traffic
80 dB – alarm clock

Very loud
90 dB – power tools
100 dB – music with headphones
110 dB – large circular saw or planer

130 dB – ambulance
140 dB – fireworks

The Raplab offers basic ear protection like ear plugs at the workshops to keep you safe. We recommend that users who want to work in the labs often buy personalized equipment that offers more comfort for long-term wearing like the  capsule ear protection below.


Noise-canceling or not, headphones are no replacement for certified hearing protection. First of all, there is the issue of them not being tested and certified, and second of all, listening to music is distractive and inhibits the awareness of your surroundings.

Eye Protection

Eye protection is necessary when the work creates flying debris, dust or as soon as chemicals are involved. At the Raplab, this is the case when you work with a jigsaw, on a bench drill, when you mix concrete, or as soon as you work with metal.


Please consult one of the people in charge of the workshops to inquire whether or not it makes sense to wear glasses and consider this: Wearing them even if they are not strictly necessary is far better the other way around!

If you wear vision correction glasses you must wear safety goggles over them. Safety glasses are made of polycarbonate and are highly shock-resistant; standard prescription glasses are not.

You find the shared safety glasses provided in every Raplab workshop. We recommend that users who want to work in the labs often buy personalized equipment,


Breathing Protection

Working in workshops very often involves the creation or release of fine particles through the mechanical processing of materials or the use of products. Particular attention must therefore be paid to protecting the respiratory tract. We provide masks in the Raplab, please always ensure that they are used correctly as described below.


It is relatively difficult to know the exact composition of the dust we enhale during work. In general, it can be said that FFP2 masks are sufficient for most work in the Raplab. However, for some types of wood, such as oak or beech, it is mendatory to use the next higher safety level FFP3.


Under certain circumstances, especially when solvents or other vapours are used, chemical filters are required in addition to particle retention in order to protect the respiratory tract and prevent hazardous substances from penetrating the body. Our staff will advise you in case of doubt.

Skin Protection

We should protect our skin, especially on our hands, when carrying out certain types of work. On the one hand, this is to protect against chemicals, and on the other to prevent cuts or splinters.


Gloves that protect against cutting or splinters are made of protective textiles, sometimes coated with rubber. These gloves do a good job when you have to carry rough timber or work outside, but remember that they can become very dangerous in machines like drill presses and bandsaws (or any other rotating machine, for that matter). Drill bits tend to catch gloves, resulting in bad accidents!


Protective gloves for handling chemicals are typically vinyl, latex, or nitrile. Check for possible sensibilities, especially with the latex ones, before you use them, and only use gloves to work with chemicals. We have a supply of nitrile gloves taht are handed out on request.