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Revised 8/26/09


Proper laboratory technique is essential to the not use the equipment in ways that you
education of a successful technologist. Your were not trained for.
success will depend upon your attitude and 3. Read the information in the lab and be
conduct. This laboratory is a safe place to familiar with the assignment before you
conduct your work if you are careful. You must attempt your lab activity. If you are in
assume responsibility for the safety of yourself doubt about any procedure, ask your
and your neighbors. The following are some instructor for help.
safety and procedural rules to help guide you in
protecting yourself and others from injury in the 4. Acceptable safety goggles should be worn
laboratory. Reckless behavior or non-compliance when working with dangerous equipment.
with the rules listed below will result in 5. Sandals, flip-flops, and open toed shoes
expulsion from the laboratory and will affect are not recommended footwear in the lab.
your grade in class. Be careful about wearing loose or floppy
clothing that could cause an accident.
Emergency Quick Reference (from DPS) Long hair should be tied back so that it is
kept out of the equipment. Jewelry should
1. Remain calm be avoided.
2. Call 911 and report the following:
* Your name 6. If the need arises, use the safety
* Incident type equipment provided for you. Know the
* Incident location location of the fire extinguisher. Know
* Description of the incident how to use the fire extinguisher and any
3. For injury/illness: other piece of pertinent safety equipment.
* Keep victim still 7. Be aware of the shut-down procedures for
* Check breathing all pieces of equipment in the lab,
* Control bleeding including the emergency shut-off
4. When police arrive, give them additional locations.
information and ask others to do the same
8. Report any accident or injury to your
General Lab Safety instructor at once.
9. Never eat, drink, smoke, or sleep in the
1. Do not perform any activity with the lab lab.
equipment that is not expressly authorized
10. At the close of each laboratory session see
by your instructor. Never attempt to
that your desktop and floor area are clean.
repair or adjust equipment unless such a
All equipment must be returned to their
procedure is part of your duties. Do not
respective locations and neatly arranged.
use the equipment in ways that the
A safe lab is a clean lab.
equipment was not designed for.
11. Be careful when working with
2. Learn the correct name and usage of the
components or surfaces that may be hot or
lab equipment before you start any lab
become hot.
work. Do not use equipment that you
haven’t been trained on or are unfamiliar with. Do
Electrical Safety others. Some substances such as metals generally
offer very little resistance to the flow of electric
1. Remember that the human body is a current and are called "conductors." A common
conductor of electricity. but perhaps overlooked conductor is the surface
or subsurface of the earth. Glass, plastic,
2. When using electricity keep the work area
porcelain, clay, pottery, dry wood, and similar
and your hands dry. Never work with
substances generally slow or stop the flow of
electricity with wet hands, where spills
electricity. They are called "insulators." Even air,
have occurred, or with open wounds.
normally an insulator, can become a conductor,
3. Never overload a circuit or component. as occurs during an arc or lightning stroke.
Ask the instructor to check all electrical
circuits before you turn on the power. How does water affect the flow of electricity?
4. Do not work with any circuit until the Pure water is a poor conductor. But small
input power is turned off and any power amounts of impurities in water like salt, acid,
stored in the circuit is dissipated. solvents, or other materials can turn water itself
and substances that generally act as insulators
5. Avoid shorting out the terminals of a into conductors or better conductors. Dry wood,
battery, power supply, or capacitor (unless for example, generally slows or stops the flow of
explicitly told to do so). The wire can electricity. But when saturated with water, wood
become dangerously hot or the equipment turns into a conductor. The same is true of
could become damaged. human skin. Dry skin has a fairly high resistance
6. Keep your hands, face, and other body to electric current. But when skin is moist or wet,
parts away from live circuits. Turn off all it acts as a conductor. This means that anyone
power and ground all high voltage points working with electricity in a damp or wet
before working on electrical equipment. environment needs to exercise extra caution to
Be sure power cannot be restored prevent electrical hazards.
What causes shocks? Electricity travels in closed
7. Never use water to put out an electrical circuits, normally through a conductor. But
fire. Water could lead to an increased sometimes a person's body -- an efficient
electrocution risk or compound the conductor of electricity -- mistakenly becomes
problem in other ways. part of the electric circuit. This can cause an
8. Be sure each person is grounded before electrical shock. Shocks occur when a person's
touching parts inside of a computer. body completes the current path with:
both wires of an electric circuit;
9. When practical, use only one hand when
one wire of an energized circuit and the
working with circuits and the other hand
clear from the circuitry.
a metal part that accidentally becomes
10. Remove any metallic jewelry that can energized due, for example, to a break in
accidentally short out a circuit. its insulation; or
another "conductor" that is carrying a
Electricity: The Basics current.
This section adapted from the Occupational Safety and When a person receives a shock, electricity flows
Health Administration (or OSHA) between parts of the body or through the body to
a ground or the earth.
What affects the flow of electricity? Electricity
flows more easily through some materials than
Effects of Current in the Human Body What kind of burns can a shock cause? Burns are
Current Reaction the most common shock-related injury. An
electrical accident can result in an electrical
<1 mA Generally not perceptible
burn, arc burn, thermal contact burn, or a
1 mA Faint tingle combination of burns.
Slight shock felt; not painful but Electrical burns are among the most serious
disturbing. Average individual can burns and require immediate medical attention.
5 mA They occur when electric current flows through
let go. Strong involuntary reactions
can lead to other injuries. tissues or bone, generating heat that causes tissue
6–25 mA Painful shock, loss of muscular
Arc or flash burns result from high temperatures
(women) control*
caused by an electric arc or explosion near the
The freezing current or " let-go" body. These burns should be treated promptly.
9–30 mA range.* Individual cannot let go, but Thermal contact burns are caused when the skin
(men) can be thrown away from the circuit touches hot surfaces of overheated electric
if extensor muscles are stimulated. conductors, conduits, or other energized
Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, equipment. Thermal burns also can be caused
50–150 when clothing catches on fire, as may occur
severe muscular contractions. Death
mA when an electric arc is produced.
is possible.
In addition to shock and burn hazards, electricity
Rhythmic pumping action of the
poses other dangers. For example, arcs that result
heart ceases. Muscular contraction
1–4.3 A from short circuits can cause injury or start a fire.
and nerve damage occur; death
Extremely high-energy arcs can damage
equipment, causing fragmented metal to fly in all
Cardiac arrest, severe burns; death directions. Even low-energy arcs can cause
10 A
probable violent explosions in atmospheres that contain
* If the extensor muscles are excited by the shock, the flammable gases, vapors, or combustible dusts.
person may be thrown away from the power source.

Source: W.B. Kouwenhoven, " Human Safety and Electric Why do people sometimes "freeze" when they are
Shock," Electrical Safety Practices, Monograph, 112, shocked? When a person receives an electrical
Instrument Society of America, p. 93. November 1968. shock, sometimes the electrical stimulation
causes the muscles to contract. This "freezing"
What effect do shocks have on the body? An effect makes the person unable to pull free of the
electric shock can result in anything from a slight circuit. It is extremely dangerous because it
tingling sensation to immediate cardiac arrest. increases the length of exposure to electricity and
The severity depends on the following: because the current causes blisters, which reduce
the amount of current flowing through the body's resistance and increases the current.
the body, The longer the exposure, the greater the risk of
the current's path through the body, serious injury. Longer exposures at even
the length of time the body remains in the relatively low voltages can be just as dangerous
circuit, and as short exposures at higher voltages. Low
the current's frequency. voltage does not imply low hazard.
This table shows the general relationship In addition to muscle contractions that cause
between the amount of current received and the "freezing," electrical shocks also can cause
reaction when current flows from the hand to the involuntary muscle reactions. These reactions
foot for just 1 second.
can result in a wide range of other injuries from necessary to prevent this static electricity buildup
collisions or falls, including bruises, bone and the results.
fractures, and even death.
Protection Against Electrical Hazards
What should you do if someone "freezes" to a
live electrical contact? If a person is "frozen" to What is the best way to protect yourself against
a live electrical contact, shut off the current electrical hazards? Most electrical accidents
immediately. If this is not possible, use boards, result from one of the following three factors:
poles, or sticks made of wood or any other non- unsafe equipment or installation,
conducting materials and safely push or pull the unsafe environment, or
person away from the contact. It's important to unsafe work practices.
act quickly, but remember to protect yourself as Some ways to prevent these accidents are
well from electrocution or shock. through the use of insulation, guarding,
grounding, electrical protective devices, and safe
How can you tell if a shock is serious? A severe work practices.
shock can cause considerably more damage than
meets the eye. A victim may suffer internal What protection does insulation provide?
hemorrhages and destruction of tissues, nerves, Insulators such as glass, mica, rubber, or plastic
and muscles that aren't readily visible. Renal used to coat metals and other conductors help
damage also can occur. If you or a coworker stop or reduce the flow of electrical current. This
receives a shock, seek emergency medical help helps prevent shock, fires, and short circuits. To
immediately. be effective, the insulation must be suitable for
the voltage used and conditions such as
What is the danger of static electricity? Static temperature and other environmental factors like
electricity also can cause a shock, though in a moisture, oil, gasoline, corrosive fumes, or other
different way and generally not as potentially substances that could cause the insulator to fail.
severe as the type of shock described previously. Before connecting electrical equipment to a
Static electricity can build up on the surface of power source, it's a good idea to check the
an object and, under the right conditions, can insulation for any exposed wires for possible
discharge to a person, causing a shock. The most defects. Insulation covering flexible cords such
familiar example of this is when a person reaches as extension cords is particularly vulnerable to
for a door knob or other metal object on a cold, damage.
relatively dry day and receives a shock.
However, static electricity also can cause shocks What is grounding and what protection does it
or can just discharge to an object with much offer? "Grounding" a tool or electrical system
more serious consequences, as when friction means intentionally creating a low-resistance
causes a high level of static electricity to build up path that connects to the earth. This prevents the
at a specific spot on an object. This can happen buildup of voltages that could cause an electrical
simply through handling plastic pipes and accident.
materials or during normal operation of Grounding is normally a secondary protective
rubberized drive or machine belts found in many measure to protect against electric shock. It does
worksites. In these cases, for example, static not guarantee that you won't get a shock or be
electricity can potentially discharge when injured or killed by an electrical current. It will,
sufficient amounts of flammable or combustible however, substantially reduce the risk, especially
substances are located nearby and cause an when used in combination with other safety
explosion. Grounding or other measures may be measures discussed in this booklet.
A service or system ground is designed primarily and other components from overheating and
to protect machines, tools, and insulation against open the circuit when there is a risk of a ground
damage. One wire, called the "neutral" or fault.
"grounded" conductor, is grounded. In an Ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, are
ordinary low-voltage circuit, the white or gray used in wet locations, construction sites, and
wire is grounded at the generator or transformer other high-risk areas. These devices interrupt the
and at the building's service entrance. flow of electricity within as little as 1/40 of a
An equipment ground helps protect the second to prevent electrocution. GFCIs compare
equipment operator. It furnishes a second path the amount of current going into electric
for the current to pass through from the tool or equipment with the amount of current returning
machine to the ground. This additional ground from it along the circuit conductors. If the
safeguards the operator if a malfunction causes difference exceeds 5 mA, the device
the tool's metal frame to become energized. The automatically shuts off the electric power.
resulting flow of current may activate the circuit
protection devices. What devices are meant to protect operators? A
common misconception is that operators will be
What are circuit protection devices and how do protected from accidental electrocution by
they work? Circuit protection devices limit or standard circuit breakers and fuses. In fact, these
stop the flow of current automatically in the devices provide little to no protection to the user.
event of a ground fault, overload, or short circuit They are designed to protect the power system
in the wiring system. Well-known examples of and equipment connected to it. Operators are
these devices are fuses, circuit breakers, ground- protected by isolation (insulation of electric
fault circuit interrupters, and arc-fault circuit devices), equipment grounding, and Ground
interrupters. Fault Circuit Interrupters (or GFCIs). Therefore,
Fuses and circuit breakers open or break the it is imperative that operators ensure this
circuit automatically when too much current protective equipment is present and in working
flows through them. When that happens, fuses order. Do not remove ground terminals from
melt and circuit breakers trip the circuit open. equipment and check all wiring for damage
Fuses and circuit breakers are designed to protect before using.
conductors and equipment. They prevent wires