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N.B. These items will be incorporated into a Free Geek Safety Manual, along with items from our recent Safety Consultation.

Staff must be familiar with these guidelines, and communicate them to volunteers when appropriate. Staff must comply with these practices, and ensure onsite compliance during the workday.

These are items specific to Free Geek, and are supplementary to WorkSafeBC regulations.

Current safety proposals.


  • Computer system piles shall be no more than 1.52 meters (5') high when stacked to the wall.
  • Computer piles on carts shall be no more than 1.52 meters (5') high total (including cart height).
  • Systems shall be stacked horizontally.
  • Volunteers who will participate in stacking will be reminded of proper stacking procedure when being assigned to their stations.
  • Monitors shall be piled no higher than 2 high freestanding, or 3 high if securely braced by a wall.
  • Warehouse piles shall be regularly inspected by staff throughout the day.


  • Pathways must be unobstructed. Cables and equipment must be out of the walkway. Corridors marked with green tape must be kept clear at all times.
  • Stairways must be kept clear of objects and litter, and be swept regularly.
  • Out of consideration to persons with mobility issues, pathways should be at least 810 mm (32 inches) wide at all times.
  • Sharp objects must not be placed in immediate proximity to pathways.
  • Any unavoidable obstruction to a pathway must have a human assigned to provide guidance to the unaware, until the pathway is cleared.
  • Pathways shall be regularly inspected by staff throughout the day.


No open-toed shoes, sandals or high heels to be worn while working at Free Geek. Volunteers who show up wearing inappropriate footwear will be sent home and rescheduled for another day.

Personal Safety Equipment

see Worksafe BC Part 8 Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment

Mandatory Safety Equipment

Gloves are mandatory when prying items apart (e.g. heatsinks and fans / slot-style CPUs), when carrying heavy loads and in all the dismantle areas.


  • Comfortable clothing
  • Dust masks at Evaluation, Predismantle and Dismantling
  • Work gloves when working in receiving
  • Nitrile gloves when doing card sorting and RAM sorting

Ergonomics and Movement


Volunteers are not permitted to climb on top of piles or objects other than ladders to retrieve things from shelving.


When volunteers are going to be involved in lifting activities, remind them to lift ergonomically (eyes straight ahead, back straight, bend from the knees).


Volunteers should be reminded to use the lights at their workstation to prevent eyestrain.

Strategic placement

Effort will be made not to place exceptionally heavy items (like monitors) high up.


Volunteers may not know to ask for a stool if they need one. They should be told where to find them if needed.

Watch your back

When carrying items or wheeling carts behind others who may be unaware, it is important to call out when passing. "Watch your back" or "behind you" are examples.


First Aid

  • The first aid box is at the bottom of the stairs next to the bathroom. Current first aiders on staff are found here

Accident Reporting

  • Accidents are reported using the accident report forms inside the first aid cabinet, see above.


  • Wash hands after finishing work and/or before eating. Remind volunteers at the end of the day.
  • During regular Free Geek hours, eating is only permitted in the kitchen, store or outside. Beverages are not allowed throughout the facility with the exception of enclosed water bottles.

Specific Equipment

Hepa Vacuum

Volunteers should be reminded to tuck the hose under their workstation, when not in use, to prevent a tripping hazard.

Pallet Jack

The pallet jack shall only be used by staff; volunteers may use it with special permission and instruction from a staff member.

Power Drill

Staff shall make an effort to ensure that volunteers using the power drill are aware of correct technique (e.g. proper grip; keep bracing hand out of harm's way).


Loading Bay

  • Volunteers or the public are not permitted to jump off the loading bay as a short cut.
  • Smoking is not permitted within 6 meters of any egress or air intake.
  • The loading bay shall not be left unattended by a staff member or competent volunteer; otherwise equipment may pile up in pathways, or other unsafe circumstances may arise.


Commercial vehicles and FG rental trucks

Back up procedure for vehicles over 1 1/2 ton(large truck, panel van etc)

1)Staff member is to assign volunteer or other staff member to block the side door which exits to the out side loading area. This door must remain closed.

2)Staff member will ensure outside loading area is clear of people or equipment.

3)Staff member, will wear high viz vest and stand in alley to block the public from approaching the loading bay area. The staff member *will not* assist the driver or direct traffic.

3)After vehicle has finished backing in and when engine of vehicle is shut off, will the staff member resume normal duties.

4)When driver is ready to leave, steps 1 through 3 will be repeated. Staff can resume normal duties when the vehicle is completely in the alley and ready to leave.

Please check safety proposals for new ideas on this subject.

Disaster Plan

  • see staff handbook

Online Resources

Worksafe BC

New Smoking Regulations at the Ministry of Health Services

Future Accessibility References

Removing Barriers to Accessing your Business by Access Guide Canada

Accessibility Specifications and Resources - Disabled Persons Community Resources

Safety & Oppression in the Workplace


Oppression is the act of using power to empower and/or privilege a group at the expense of disempowering, marginalizing, silencing, and subordinating another group. Oppression does not need established organizational support; it can be rendered on a much smaller individual scale.

Anti-oppressive practice is a social work practice theory. It seeks to acknowledge oppression in societies, economies, cultures & groups and aiming to remove or negate the influence of the oppression.


Anti-oppression (AO) work incorporates goals such as contributing towards creating a safer space for all voices to be heard and valued, and enabling all participants to increase their effectiveness in their work through a collective learning process. It’s a means of providing information that will lead to a better understanding of diverse communities. AO is important not only in furthering human rights, social and environmental justice work in a positive and meaningful direction, but to our safety in this work.

What does Anti-Oppression have to do with safety?

AO is a means to better understand each other, as we all come from diverse life experiences. For example, two people can be in the same place, engaged in the same event, seated at the same table, and have entirely different experiences. AO provides a framework from which to have dialogue about these differences, to understand that both experiences are valid, and to determine ways to effect just change.

AO helps increase awareness about the diversity of experiences and increases understanding about responsibility and accountability of systems of power and privilege. Ideally, someone armed with AO awareness will step forward as an ally for another when a situation arises that may cause he/she to feel emotionally or physically unsafe.

Check Out: Global Exchange, Anti Oppression Reader