I have personally witnessed several incidents of well intentioned members damaging DMS equipment in the wood shop over the last few months. I have read about many more incidents on TALK. I don’t think there has been an incident where some one set out to intentionally damage equipment (but I do not know of all incidents in DMS’s history). The general themes are “I thought it was ok to use the _______ tool to cut _______. I didn’t know it was not” and “I didn’t know that the ______ tool needed to be set up that way”.
I am also not aware of anyone being held accountable for damage. However, I have been a member for < 1 year and I am not privy to disciplinary actions.
From my viewpoint, as a DMS user of the wood shop, it’s pretty clear to me that you can join DMS, make as many innocent mistakes as you want and you will never be disciplined or have to pay for your mistakes. That is my perception after 8 months of being in the wood shop ~16 hours a week. Reality maybe different. I hope it is.
Until it is clear to all members that members who damage DMS equipment (no matter how innocent or how well intentioned ) will be held accountable via disciplinary actions (suspension, retraining, community service or other) and paying for the damage, we will continue to have a high rate of breakage.
Imagine you want to do something to piece of wood and aren’t sure if it is a good idea or appropriate. As it stands now – what the hell, try it, if it breaks the tool, so what, there won’t be any consequences (other than I may wreck my piece of wood) nor will I have to pay. Now imagine a world where you have to pay for damage and/or suffer disciplinary action. Hmmmm maybe I should ask someone if it is a good idea to use a machine in a particular way BEFORE I do it. It might be a good idea to read the manual. It might lower breakage rates.
Of course, there is a fine line between a tool fails when it is being used as the manufacturer intends and the tool fails because someone used the tool in an inappropriate way. In all the examples I have seen of damage – it is pretty clear that users were using the tool inappropriately. There is also a fine line in damaging a person’s reputation (DMS seems to err on the side of caution on this). It would be in the best long term interest to publish incidents and consequences (and leaving out names if you are worried about legal issues). Hence, members can learn from other members mistakes and see that there are consequences. If there were no consequences for burglary – do you think the burglary rate would increase or decrease?
If nothing changes, DMS will eventually go bankrupt – either due to paying too much for repairs or not having enough members because the tools do not work (or a combination of both).
General question to DMS leadership (woodshop chairs and the BOD): Do we hold members accountable? Should we? What do other committees do when damage occurs in their areas? Note, if a BOD responds please make it clear that you are on the board, I don’t know the handles of the current board members.