Fab Lab Siegen laboratory regulations, state 2018

The present regulations refers to the Fab Lab in Siegen (germany). “Fabrication Laboratory”, hereinafter referred to as “Laboratory” of the University of Siegen. The laboratory is an open, novel workshop for the purpose of research and teaching on distributed, digital fabrication structures.

Laboratory organisation and coordination

Organizationally, Fab Lab Siegen is integrated into the research project of iSchool Siegen, also named “Fab Lab Siegen”, with Prof. Dr. Volkmar Pipek acting as the overall responsible director.

At least two employees of the University of Siegen are designated as coordinators. These coordinators are assigned the duty in writing by the responsible head of the project to ensure that the laboratory is operated in accordance with the rules and safety regulations and to coordinate the teaching and research activities in and around the laboratory. In line with the also citizen-oriented, open and agile character of the laboratory, this is to be carried out in close and individual consultation with the occupational health and safety department of the central administration, which is responsible for occupational safety issues, as well as with the users of the laboratory themselves. For the ongoing lab operation, the lab coordinators are central contact persons for ambiguities, exceptional cases and other concerns. Their instructions must be followed.

Part A: basic rules

Access and Usage

Access to the Fab Lab Siegen is only permitted with express permission (by responsible managers). The following exceptions apply:

  • Publicly announced events and/or regular open hours.
  • Access authorization transferred in writing.
  • Cleaning and technical staff.

In accordance with the research and teaching mission of Fab Lab Siegen, access to and use of the lab is not restricted to members of the University of Siegen.

It is thus left to the responsible management to check requests for use of the laboratory outside business hours (e.g. for certain seminars on weekends or similar) on a case-by-case basis and, if necessary, to grant independent access authorization


For guests who have not completed any instruction, the rule is: “Look only, do not touch anything”. Deviations from this are possible in individual cases, e.g. in the context of workshops, for which the laboratory is then prepared and secured accordingly (e.g. no dangerous experimental setups in the room). Appropriate permissions can be granted by the Lab coordinators as well as the responsible management.

Traffic Light System

The use of the available equipment and machines is regulated separately from access to the laboratory by a traffic light system, according to which the equipment and machines in the laboratory are clearly marked:

  • Green: May be used independently after general safety instruction. Example: Hand tool.
  • Yellow: May be used independently after receiving instruction for the device. Example: 3D printer.
  • Red: May be used after instruction and consultation with the Lab coordinators before each use. Example: CNC milling machine. Devices must be protected against unauthorized use by key switch or similar.

Classification into traffic light colors is done by the Lab Coordinators in consultation with the University Administration. If a device is missing the label, it should be treated as “red” and the Lab Coordinators should be notified.


All lab briefings, like any job briefing, are done in person and on site by the Lab Coordinators or qualified individuals designated by the responsible lead. The contents of the instructions are also posted in writing in the laboratory on the respective device/area and stored digitally. Important: The posted and signed versions are valid. The digital versions are also working documents for further collaborative development.

As a general rule, all briefings must be repeated annually as the laboratory infrastructure may change. Successful referrals are documented by signature in corresponding lists in the laboratory.

General Safety Instructions

All laboratory briefings are related to specific equipment, functional areas, or other equipment. The exception is the general safety briefing, which refers to these laboratory regulations. In accordance with its character, the general safety briefing will be referred to as “basic rules” in the following as well as in the language used in the laboratory. The briefing on the basic rules includes at least:

  1. Guided Tours through the Lab
  2. Detailed explanation of Part A of the Laboratory Regulations. As far as possible, this must be done directly at the object (e.g. explanation of the traffic light system directly at a correspondingly marked device).
  3. Brief overview of Part B of the Laboratory Regulations.
  4. Handing over of a (if necessary digital) copy of these laboratory regulations and instruction about the obligation to take full note of and comply with them (incl. Part B).
  5. Opportunity to clarify open questions.
  6. Confirmation of the briefing by signing the list in the laboratory.

The general safety briefing is mandatory for participation in all other briefings of the laboratory.

Payment and use of existing materials

The development of a funding and payment model for Fab Labs is part of the Lab’s research work, which is why regulations in this regard can and should change dynamically. If no prices are posted in the laboratory and announced online, the use of the device in question is free of charge.

A warehouse exists in the laboratory where, among other things, old equipment, components that are no longer needed, sections, etc. are stored and labeled accordingly. These items can be freely used for projects. However, the condition for this is that the corresponding project is documented and thus knowledge is returned to the community. The scope of the documentation should be adapted to the project – for a very small experimental setup, for example, a photo with a short description for the website may be sufficient, larger projects should be documented in more detail.

Participation in research activities

The core task of the lab is to conduct research on fab labs per se, digital fabrication, maker culture, and related issues, as well as to support other interested researchers in doing so. The ongoing operation as well as events in and around the Fab Lab are basically accompanied scientifically, for example by observations, but also later analyses of possibly published documentation, digital or physical artifacts and further research activities. It is important to note here that no personal data is collected for these continuously ongoing general research activities and that all findings are used exclusively in a scientific and anonymized manner.

By participating in the general research activities listed up to this point, users of the laboratory agree to accept the laboratory regulations as part of the instruction in the basic rules. Users can object to participation informally and in writing at any time.

In the course of the operation, individual projects, the activities of specific groups/individuals or the like can and will also move into the research interest and be analyzed in more depth (special research activities). This may only be done after consultation and with the explicit consent of all persons involved, in compliance with the standards of good scientific practice. Thus, by accepting these Laboratory Regulations, users of the Laboratory do not agree to participate in specific research activities in which personal or project data (e.g., intellectual property) or the like are specific subjects of research.

Insurance Coverage

Accident insurance coverage through the responsible accident insurance fund NRW exists for employees of the university and students who use the laboratory to fulfill their professional or student tasks, i.e., who are instructed to do so by their supervisors or the teaching staff.

All users of the laboratory are liable for damages caused by improper use of the existing facilities and equipment. The conclusion of a liability insurance is therefore recommended.

Cleanliness, Noise and Waste

All users of Fab Lab Siegen share responsibility for keeping the lab clean and tidy and for treating equipment with care.The lab should be in as good and clean (or better) condition after use as it was before work began.

This includes, in particular, returning used items to their storage location or, if necessary, independently creating a new, labeled storage location at the locations designated in the laboratory. For example, it is also necessary to avoid creating tripping hazards due to cables, spilled liquids must be mopped up, setups that could cause injury must be avoided, etc. Application of common sense is a basic requirement.

Items left behind

If (own) objects such as components are left lying around, they become part of the laboratory’s inventory after 48 hours at the latest without any initiative on the part of the owner and are sorted into the warehouse for general use.

End of Use

At the end of use, used equipment must be switched off as far as this is reasonable and desired (corresponding exceptions are noted on the respective equipment). If, for example, multi-day experimental setups or other large projects are necessary, exceptions can be made in consultation with the Lab coordinators. In such cases, the Occupational Health and Safety department of the central administration may also need to be informed.


Due to the location in the city center and the proximity to other university facilities, third parties must be taken into consideration with regard to the noise level generated. In case special rules should become necessary, the lab coordinators can issue them independently and display them in the lab as well as document them online.


Household waste should be placed in the designated waste containers in the laboratory. Separate bins may be provided for special waste (e.g. for wood waste at the milling machine) – these must be used. If anything is unclear, the Lab Coordinators must be contacted. In the case of residues of hazardous substances or contaminated equipment, the central administration of the university must be contacted via the lab coordinators regarding further disposal, although this will not normally be necessary in the context of normal Fab Lab use.

Children and Teenager

Children and adolescents are not normally allowed in the laboratory. Exceptions are essentially special events such as workshops with school classes. For this purpose, the lab coordinators appoint supervisors who must ensure that the children and adolescents cannot enter the hazardous areas of machines or hazardous substances by means of suitable barriers or shielding (e.g. plexiglas panels). Experiments offered as part of the workshops must be designed to be intrinsically safe.

Aufsicht für Kinder und Jugendliche

A distinction must be made between events with children and young people as part of their school education and all other types of events. Events as part of school or vocational training are all kinds of official events of the schools concerned, e.g. school lessons conducted in the laboratory. However, this does not include participation in university events during free time, such as the Children’s University.

For events within the framework of school education, the regulations and agreements on the duty of supervision of the schools concerned apply.

The following applies to all other events: Participation must be arranged in good time before the event and at least one supervisor for every three children or young people must be present in the Fab Lab. Supervisors can be parents who have completed at least the introduction to the basic rules of the laboratory. The transfer of the supervisory duty to third parties (e.g. adult siblings) is possible in writing within the framework of the applicable legal conditions, whereby these must also have completed at least the instruction in the basic rules. The University cannot assume supervisory responsibility, but individual employees or other University personnel may do so voluntarily, of course.

Insurance coverage for children and adolescents

Within the framework of events in the laboratory as part of school education, there is statutory insurance cover for children and young people.

Traffic Light Sytem for Children and Teenagers

For children and adolescents, the logic of the traffic light system shifts: “Green” may be used in the presence of a supervisor with their consent. “Yellow” may be used on a case-by-case basis by individual arrangement with the Lab Coordinators and “red” may not be used by children and youth under any circumstances. Children and young people are also prohibited from handling hazardous substances.

Participation in Briefings / Further Training

Children and adolescents are also welcome to attend briefings in the laboratory by arrangement. However, these participations serve the educational mission and are intended to offer particularly interested children and young people access to special topics. They do not entitle the user to independent use and do not affect the specific rules for children and young people (e.g. with regard to the traffic light system).

Part B: General safety regulations


In principle, all activities in the Fab Lab should only be carried out if at least one other person is present in the lab who is not carrying out the same activity and who can provide first aid and/or call for help if necessary. Exceptions include use of the lab for low-hazard activities such as drawing, computer work, or light cleanup.

For activities with an increased risk of fire or injury (e.g. work with circular saws, corrosive hazardous substances, dangerous electrical voltages, etc.), the presence of at least one other person who is not performing the same activity is mandatory. If anything is unclear, consult with the Lab Coordinators.

For electrotechnical projects, it is generally not allowed to work with mains voltage in the laboratory, but with a maximum of 60V DC or 25V AC voltage. Exceptions to this can be made for appropriately certified specialists on a project-specific basis, but only after individual agreement.

Clothing / Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment must be used; protective goggles, earplugs, etc. are available in labeled boxes. Which protective equipment is used is task-specific. For all work that may involve flying chips, splashing liquids or similar, at least suitable safety goggles with side shields must be worn. Suitable protective gloves must be worn when working with chemicals (e.g. degreasing agents). In case of increased noise exposure, ear protection must be worn. Additional ear muffs (“Mickey Mouse” headphones) are available at the milling machines, which can and should of course also be used elsewhere in the laboratory as required.

As a general rule, protective equipment must be visually inspected before use. Damaged protective equipment must not be further used To own clothing:

  • Closed, sturdy shoes must always be worn in the laboratory.
  • Normal work clothing must fit tightly – especially when working on rotating parts. Jewelry, gloves, scarves, etc. are prohibited, especially when working on rotating equipment (drills, etc.), as they pose immense risks of accidents.

Deviation from the rules for own clothing is only permitted in the social area of the laboratory, but only if no experiments are taking place that could possibly affect this area.

Eating, Drinking, Smoking

  • Food is only allowed in the social area and must be kept locked here as well.
  • Drinks are allowed outside the social area only in closed bottles/containers.
  • Smoking is prohibited – as in all rooms of the university – but there is a smoking corner directly in front of the entrance door.


Emergency call: Central emergency number of the university: -2111 (internal extension). Mobile: 0271 740 2111.

All further measures are taken here. Outside office hours (Mon-Fri 6 a.m. – 22 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. 12 p.m.), the number is forwarded to the guard service. If the number is unavailable, emergency services can be alerted from all University telephones by dialing 6-112.

Procedure in Case of Accidents

  • Observe self-protection!
  • Secure danger area or remove persons from danger area.
  • Call in first aiders/worksite paramedics, make an emergency call if necessary.
  • Emergency call: to the central control system of the university, emergency number 2111
  • Provide first aid, care for the injured.
  • Instruct rescue service (if necessary by caretaker/doorman).
  • Inform the Lab-coordination.
  • All injuries (even minor) must be documented in the first aid kit in the first aid book. Please always inform the Lab Coordinators, even if only a small patch was needed – supplies need to be replenished, after all!

Procedure in Case of Fire

  • Observe self-protection!
  • Emergency call: to the university’s central control system, emergency number 2111.
  • If possible, switch off experimental setups and energy sources (emergency stop, fuse).
  • In case of incipient fires, attempt to extinguish with suitable extinguishing agents. Several fire extinguishers are distributed in the laboratory (e.g. next to the entrance door).
  • Abstand zu elektrischen Einrichtungen/Spannungsquellen halten!
  • A fire alarm siren sounds in the event of major fires. In this case, the building is to be left immediately in a calm manner via the signposted escape routes and the assembly point is to be visited. Close doors and windows, but do not lock them (otherwise firefighters will have to break them open), warn other people and help them escape, do not use elevators.
  • Close doors and windows, but do not lock them (otherwise firefighters will have to break them open), warn other people and help them escape, do not use elevators.
  • Check for completeness at the collection point.

Prevent fires

  • All persons in the laboratory must know the locations of emergency stop devices (electricity/gas), escape routes, first aid equipment (first aid kit,) and fire extinguishing equipment.
  • Always keep escape routes clear in their full width (doors + windows!).
  • Easily combustible materials (paper, wood, etc.) must not be placed in escape routes.
  • Storage rooms for wood, paper, flammable liquids or gases or other highly flammable substances must not be entered with open fire. Smoking bans must be followed at all costs.
  • Flammable liquids may be kept on hand in the workplace up to a maximum of one day’s supply. The supply of combustible packaging material should not exceed the requirements of one work shift.
  • Waste and chips must be removed regularly.
  • Used, oily cleaning rags must be collected in the closed fireproof containers provided for this purpose due to their risk of spontaneous combustion.
  • At the end of work, ensure that lights and all electrical equipment are switched off. Excluded are devices that are in continuous operation. Security, telecommunication and fire alarm systems remain operational at all times and must not be switched off. Windows and doors must be closed.
  • Burning candles are prohibited in all office and plant areas unless necessary for experimental setups.
  • Welding, cutting, soldering and parting operations require special safety measures (see separate work instructions).
  • The installation and use of electrical equipment other than that provided for official use is prohibited without special permission.
  • Defects in fire protection equipment and damage to electrical installations, as well as signs thereof (flickering lights, scorching smells, etc.), must be reported immediately to the Lab Coordinators.
  • Blown fuses, defective sockets and cables are only to be repaired by authorized specialists (Dez. 5.2).
  • In the event of fires on electrical equipment, the power must be shut off immediately by emergency stop switch, if emergency stop switches are provided on the premises.
  • Smoke control and fire doors shall be kept closed at all times unless equipped with self-releasing closing devices. Laboratory doors must always be kept closed to prevent the dangerous spread of smoke in the event of a fire. The use of wooden wedges or other objects to hold the doors open is prohibited.

Details of fire safety regulations can be found in the University Fire Regulations, Parts A and B.

Experimental Setups


  • Experimental setups must be sufficiently stable, stable and suitable for the temperatures, mechanical movements and, if necessary, chemicals used.
  • In the case of unattended continuous tests, protective measures for incidents (power failure, cooling failure, unexpected reactions) must be provided if necessary.
  • After the end of the test, make sure that all connections are closed and the power supply is switched off.
  • All experimental setups must be designed in such a way that they can be quickly and easily put into a safe state via emergency stop switches (or comparable devices) in the event of danger.
  • Test setups may only be put into operation for the first time in accordance with the traffic light regulations. In case of ambiguity, consultation must be made with the Lab Coordinators.

Protection against electrical hazards

  • In the case of superstructures with electrical equipment, it must be ensured that these are undamaged and suitable for the purpose of the test.
  • In areas where there is a possibility of liquid splashing, only appropriately splash (water) protected equipment may be used (e.g. next to sinks).
  • Never put test setups into operation where contact parts with dangerous voltages (e.g. mains voltage) are freely accessible.
  • Repairs and maintenance work on electrical equipment may only be carried out by appropriately qualified persons (electricians).

Protection against mechanical hazards

  • If there is a risk of parts being ejected from the test setup, fixed protective covers must be installed.
  • For movements with a speed of more than 10 mm/s, protective measures must be taken to prevent accidental reaching into crushing and shearing points. This can be done, for example, by means of fixed covers directly at the danger points or by effectively cordoning off the entire danger area.
  • Special care must be taken in the area of rollers, shafts or gear parts rotating against each other. There is a risk of retraction here. Therefore, these places must be secured in any case.
  • Before work is carried out on the test setups, the drive concerned must be shut down and secured against being switched on again.
  • Work on parts of test setups operated hydraulically or with compressed air may only be carried out after they have been depressurized and secured against renewed pressure build-up. If movements are triggered by the pressure drop, they must be prevented by suitable measures, e.g. by locking the relevant parts or moving to a safe position beforehand.
  • When working near free-swinging parts such as pendulums or similar, secure them against movement beforehand or suspend them.

Protection against thermal hazards

  • When working with furnaces, hot workpieces or open flames, make sure that there are no easily combustible materials (especially paper and hazardous materials) in the immediate vicinity. The surfaces of the work tables should be non-combustible or covered with tiles, etc.
  • Work clothes should have as high a cotton content as possible (synthetic fibers ignite easily and stick to the skin).
  • When handling hot parts, use aids (tongs, etc.) and wear heat-resistant protective gloves.

Handling machines

  • Machines and devices may only be operated by persons who have been instructed in their proper use by one of the above-mentioned responsible persons.
  • For the handling of dangerous machines and equipment, the Lab coordinators prepare operating instructions in which the most important protective measures and rules of conduct are listed. These operating instructions must be observed!
  • Machines may only be put into operation if the protective devices provided are present and effective. Tampering with protective devices is prohibited and may result in criminal prosecution.

Handling hazardous substances

  • The handling of hazardous substances shall be kept to the minimum necessary.
  • Hazardous material containers must be clearly labeled with their contents and any hazard symbols. They must be closed again immediately after use.
  • Containers intended for food (beverage bottles, jam jars, etc.) must not be used for hazardous materials.
  • Only containers that are resistant to the substance may be selected.
  • A maximum of the daily requirement may be stored at the workplace (e.g. test bench).
  • Since the FabLab is not suitable as a hazardous substances laboratory, the use of hazardous substances must be limited in such a way that no substances harmful to health can be released into the air in hazardous quantities.
  • Whenever handling hazardous substances, ensure good room ventilation (open windows).
  • Toxic substances must be kept under lock and key.
  • Never carry (glass) bottles by the neck or lid. When transporting them outside the laboratory, always transport them in plastic boxes that can collect the hazardous substance in case of leakage.
  • Food must not be stored together with hazardous substances (e.g. in the refrigerator).
  • When handling hazardous substances, the consumption of food is generally prohibited.
  • For the handling of “more hazardous” substances, the above-mentioned persons in charge prepare hazardous substance operating instructions in which the most important protective measures and rules of conduct are listed. These operating instructions must be observed!

Handling gas cylinders

  • The use of gas cylinders in the lab is only allowed with prior approval from the Lab coordinators.
  • Toxic gases must not be used.
  • Gas cylinders may only be used in the laboratory for a short time.
    In case of permanent use – fixed gas lines must be installed.
  • The number of gas cylinders in a room should be kept to a minimum.
  • Gas cylinders must always be secured against falling over with a gas cylinder holder, a steel bracket or a chain.
  • Gas cylinders must be protected from heating.
  • Rooms in which gas cylinders are placed outside safety cabinets shall be marked on the door with a sign indicating the type and quantity of substances.
  • Gas cylinders with corrosive or highly flammable gases should be selected as small as possible.
  • Rooms containing gas cylinders with flammable gases outside safety cabinets must be well ventilated and equipped with a gas warning device.
  • Gas cylinders may only be moved with special transport carts and only with the valve protection cap screwed on. It is strictly forbidden to carry the bottles.
  • Only fittings and hoses that are permissible for the respective type of gas and the occurring pressure may be used to extract gas from compressed gas cylinders. Particular care must be taken to ensure that oxygen does not come into contact with fats or oils, and acetylene does not come into contact with heavy metals such as copper or lead.
  • Compressed gas cylinders whose withdrawal valves cannot be opened by hand must be marked and taken out of service.
  • Gas cylinder valves are to be opened (carefully) only shortly before the start of the test and closed again immediately after the end of the test.
  • Before connecting gas cylinders, check seals; replace if necessary.
  • Keep fittings free of grease and oil, especially in the case of oxidizing gases.
  • Gas hoses must be visually inspected before use. Do not use porous, badly kinked or damaged hoses.
  • Always ensure a tight fit when connecting gas hoses.

Binding agent for spilled liquids

Spilled liquids/oils are to be sprinkled with sand (location: warehouse) and then picked up with a hand brush. Hand brushes and other cleaning tools are also in stock.

Unsupervised tests

Tests may only be carried out without supervision if it is ensured that – Other persons cannot intervene in the test or be endangered by it, – No dangerous conditions can occur even in the event of a power failure, cooling water failure, etc., – There is no increased risk of fire (e.g. due to overheating).