OEDK Safety Guidelines 

Please review the video and other guidelines below! 

The following reviews the safety rules, procedures and guidelines for the OEDK. 

The information in the video AND the narratives are needed to pass the STUDENT SAFETY QUIZ or the FACULTY and STAFF SAFETY QUIZ to get ID access into the OEDK.


Click HERE to find the Equipment Assistance Guidelines

Also, for an in-depth review of safety guidelines for Rice University campus, please visit the Environmental Health and Safety website.


Welcome to the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. The OEDK is here for you to be able to effectively accomplish your design tasks. We look forward to seeing the amazing work that you produce this year. We have prepared this video to acquaint you with the safety requirements and expectations that we, as a community, must follow to maintain a safe environment.

Using the OEDK is a privilege.  And…. as you know, along with privileges come some responsibilities.  One of these responsibilities is that you, student, staff and faculty users of the OEDK, agree to partner with us to ensure safety in the OEDK for yourself and for your peers.

Safety is the number one priority here in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.

Your safety and the safety of your peers are of utmost importance. No project or work activity is so important or urgent that safe practices can be ignored or skipped.

A large proportion of being safe is common sense. Accidents and injuries are often caused by a long series of poor choices and mistakes. It is up to all of us…. you, your peers, your faculty, and the OEDK staff to work together to stop small safety issues from becoming large ones.

In this video we will review some of the safety rules and procedures that were established under the guidance by design faculty, OEDK staff and engineering design students to help keep everyone safe while working in the design kitchen.

DISCLAIMER – These safety guidelines are not all-inclusive. All posted safety signs must also be followed.


Using the OEDK is a privilege.  But as you know, along with privileges come some responsibilities.  One of these is that you agree to become our partner in ensuring safety in the OEDK for yourself and for your peers.  ANY and ALL accidents/mishaps MUST be reported to a member of the OEDK staff. You MUST fill out an Incident/Accident Report within 24 hours of the incident.

In case of emergency, CALL THE CAMPUS EMERGENCY NUMBER AT x6000 or 713-348-6000.

It is also important to know the location of the phones, fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillator or AED unit, emergency eyewash station and first aid kits.

The main prototype areas upstairs and downstairs are equipped with a cordless phones.  These phones are tied into the campus phone system, so extensions may be dialed directly or you may dial 9 to get an outside line.

There are 9 fire extinguishers located throughout the OEDK, upstairs and downstairs. Please take note of their location when you in the building. 

The automated external defibrillator or AED* unit upstairs is located along the back wall near the classroom entrance. Opening the door to the AED cabinet will alert campus emergency services.  ONLY open the cabinet in the event of an emergency.

*An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

Upstairs first aid kits are located at the safety stations and near entrance to the machine shop and inside the wet lab.

Know the location of safety glasses, gloves and hearing protection. Each of these may be found in bins at the Safety Stations, near the fasteners cabinets and throughout the OEDK. (Safety glasses will no longer be out and will be issued to students individually while COVID-19 Guidelines are in place)

And REMEMBER: In case of emergency, CALL THE CAMPUS EMERGENCY NUMBER AT x6000 or 713-348-6000.


All users of the OEDK must be granted permission to use their Rice ID to access the building.  This is to ensure that all users are aware of the safety policies, rules and procedures for the lab, as well as to certify that they have the appropriate permissions to use the resources.

It is NOT appropriate to allow non-authorized students, or others, access into the OEDK.

The following are some general rules for using any space within the OEDK. In the event that you do not comply with the rules, your privileges to use the OEDK may be rescinded:

      • YOU MUST follow all safety precautions which are posted, or verbally noted. No exceptions.
      • Students are not permitted to work alone at night in the OEDK.
      • No smoking is allowed anywhere in the building.
      • No food or drinks without lids are allowed in the computer lab or wet lab. It is preferable to have food and drinks in student lounge and definitely NOT at tables where chemicals are used. Violating these rules will result in being ejected from the space. 
      • Shoes must be worn at all times.
      • Safety glasses and closed-toe shoes must be worn AT ALL TIMES when using any power tools, hand tools, cutting tools, or chemicals including glue.
      • If you need help in the OEDK or need to use tools that you do not know how to use, do not hesitate to contact one of the design technicians for help. (When needing assistance from the lab technicians, scheduling a time is suggested; walk up help requests will be handled on an “as available” basis.  It is the student's responsible for obtaining proper training for use of the available equipment.)
      • If you suspect that a piece of equipment is broken, out of calibration or not functioning properly, let the lab technicians know so that it may be corrected.
      • Use proper lifting techniques for heavy objects; bend at your knees not at your waist or ask for assistance. Any object over 75 lbs. is considered a two or more person lift.
      • DO NOT stand on rolling stools or chairs. Use a ladder or stepstool for reaching high places or ask for assistance from the OEDK staff.
      • Be aware of and follow hazard/warning labels and signs. (The OEDK has many "stored energy devices”.  Such as: capacitors, magnets, springs, shock absorbers, servo hydraulic systems, pneumatic systems, batteries and bottled gases, which can be dangerous if not handled properly.
      • All Chemicals brought in to OEDK MUST BE checked in and approved by an OEDK technician. We must be able to make Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for chemicals and advise where proper storage is located for item.
      • In the case of a battery acid or other chemical spill, the chemical spill kit and instructions can be found in the wet lab and Safety Stations. (You MUST notify an OEDK lab technician or staff member if a spill occurs).

Adhering to these guidelines, not only enhances your ability to work safely, but it also encourages respectful safety practices for those around you.

Work Tables

Being able to utilize work tables in the OEDK can be a great asset to your design project.  But it is important to utilize these work tables and manage your project’s materials in a safe manner.

Keep work area neat and organized.  Put away all tools and test equipment when not actively in use.

All materials must be stored on or under the table. It is not permissible to lean large objects on table, lay large pieces of wood, pipe, etc. extending into aisles around tables.

Keep floor areas clear to reduce trip hazards; make sure the areas between the tables are clear so people may maneuver around the prototype area safely.

Before you leave the OEDK each day, make sure that you have cleaned and organized your work area and have returned any equipment or tools to the appropriate storage areas.


Hand and Power Tools

The OEDK has many hand and power tools readily available to its users.  But these tools also have the potential for accidents and injury if not used or handled correctly.  Here are a few simple guidelines on using hand and power tools.

First, it is important to emphasize that no power tools may be used in the OEDK that are not owned by OEDK.  For example, it is not permitted to bring tools such as band saws or circulars saws from home.  If you need a power tool that does not seem available in the OEDK, please seek assistance from the lab technician.

Do your research and select the appropriate tool for the job.  If you are unsure which tool to use, please ask a lab technician.

You must use the designated tool station, which is equipped with clamps and vices, when doing any drilling, cutting or grinding.  All materials must be clamped safely to the table.  Handheld materials are not acceptable.

Appropriate use of protective glasses and closed-toe shoes is expected when doing any cutting, drilling, grinding, etc. Please notify your peers around you that you are using any power tool that may produce flying debris.



Machine Shop

The Machine Shop is an area where even more safety awareness is needed.  Virtually every aspect of the shop could have some hazard associated with it.  However, with cognizance and precautions, these hazards can be reduced to acceptable terms.

You MUST meet with and obtain assistance from the shop technician when you ready to use machining equipment in the Machine Shop. Specific training on equipment MUST be done before students may have access to the equipment. It is important to know where shut-off switches are for each piece of equipment.

Students may NOT work alone in the shop. No Exceptions. A technician MUST be notified and present in the building for the Machine Shop equipment to be used.

Safety glasses must be worn at all times in the machine shop while ANY TYPE of equipment is being used. Your eye glasses (EVEN IF THEY ARE POLYCARBONATE) are not sufficient when machining.

Ear protection may be required depending on the type of equipment being used.

Closed toe shoes are to be worn at ALL times.  Leather shoes are preferred over tennis shoes. No exceptions.

Long sleeves, ties or other loose fitting clothing must be worn in such a manner to avoid entanglement in machinery.  This includes loose jewelry.

Long hair must be secured, worn in a bun or tucked in a hair net or cap in such a manner to avoid entanglement in machinery. This includes beards.

A few things to think about while using the Machine Shop:

        • Do I know how to operate the machine?
        • Are all the guards in place?
        • Am I doing something I should not do?
        • Have I tightened all bolts and clamps?
        • Is the work piece properly secured?
        • Am I wearing proper safety gear?
        • Do I know where the stop switch is?

Machine shops employ powerful, heavy machinery that can be dangerous if accessed by unqualified users or if used in an unsafe manner.  Every student must be trained in the safety measures and remain alert at all times to prevent accidents and damage to equipment and tools.


There are various ways of protecting people from the hazards caused by electricity, including insulation, guarding, grounding, and electrical protective devices. OEDK users can significantly reduce electrical hazards by following some basic precautions.

Safety glasses and closed-toe shoes is recommended to be worn when working on electrical/electronic circuits.


Remove rings, watches, bracelets etc. before working on energized circuits or taking measurements. These items can provide a conductive path for electricity which may result in a shock.

Voltage and current settings MUST BE verified before applying power to any circuits, circuit boards, motors, etc.  Avoid contact with energized electrical circuits or use guarding around exposed circuits and sources of live electricity. (If using electrolytic capacitors, verify the polarity of the leads before installing it into the circuit to avoid possible rupture of the component. Remember that with electric motors torque and current are directly proportional.  If full power is applied to a motor at the start up, it will try to accelerate to full speed as quickly as possible.)

When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, be sure hands are dry and, when possible, wear nonconductive gloves and shoes with insulated soles.

Take electrical test measurements using the “one hand” rule.  Attaching only one test lead at a time will reduce the risk of receiving an electrical shock.

Try to avoid making/breaking connections with power applied. (Know how to quickly remove power from a circuit in the event of an emergency, before starting any task. If water or a chemical is spilled onto equipment, shut off power at the main switch or circuit breaker and unplug the equipment.)

Also, keep in mind if someone is receiving an electrical shock, DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Find a non-conductive material to remove them from the source or remove power from the circuit.


Soldering station must be cleaned after use!  The stations are shared among all OEDK users and must be clear and organized for the next user.  Please notify a lab technician if you find that the soldering station was not cleaned by the previous user.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to wash your hands after soldering - much of the solder contains lead.


By following the guidelines in this video you will avoid many possible accidents. Always be aware of what is going on around you and be respectful of your neighbors. Inattention, hurried work, horseplay, bad judgment, fatigue, improper clothing, defective tools, and poorly kept work stations cause most accidents. Avoid accidents by following all of the OEDK’s rules, policies and procedures. Do not hesitate any OEDK staff member if you have any concern at all about safety in the OEDK.  WE want to identify safety problems before they grow large or anyone gets hurt! Always Remember: Safety is the number one priority here in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. The OEDK is your domain!

Now go make something awesome!




Rice Weapons Prohibition Policy

Signs are installed near the main entrances to the university stating that concealed handguns are not permitted on campus – even if you are licensed to carry a concealed weapon. These signs are required by the state because Rice University opted out of Texas’ campus-carry law that went into effect Aug. 1. That new state law did not change the university’s prohibition on guns. As in previous years, Rice University does not allow guns on campus; the very limited exceptions to this rule are explained in Rice’s Weapons Prohibition Policy (details and other information can be found online at tinyurl.com/WeaponsProhibitionPolicy). The policy also explains other weapons and objects that are prohibited on campus.

Equipment Assistance Guidelines

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK

Email: oedk@rice.edu

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