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IT Essentials: Computer Lab Procedures and Tool Use

Chapter Description

This chapter discusses safe lab procedures and basic safety practices for the workplace, correct tool usage, and the proper disposal of computer components and supplies. The guidelines presented help keep IT workers safe while protecting the environment and workplace from contamination caused by improperly discarded materials.

From the Book

IT Essentials

IT Essentials, 5th Edition


Safe Lab Procedures (2.1)

This section discusses safety in the lab. Safety guidelines help protect individuals from accidents and injury. They also help to protect equipment from damage. Some of these guidelines are designed to protect the environment from contamination caused by improperly discarded materials.

General Safety (

Safe working conditions help prevent injury to people and damage to computer equipment. A safe workspace is clean, organized, and properly lighted. Everyone must understand and follow safety procedures.

Follow the basic safety guidelines to prevent cuts, burns, electrical shock, and damage to eyesight. As a best practice, make sure that a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit are available in case of fire or injury. Poorly placed or unsecured cables can cause tripping hazards in a network installation. Cables should be installed in conduit or cable trays to prevent hazards.

This is a partial list of basic safety precautions to use when working on a computer:

  • Remove your watch and jewelry and secure loose clothing.
  • Turn off the power and unplug equipment before performing service.
  • Cover sharp edges inside the computer case with tape.
  • Never open a power supply or a CRT monitor.
  • Do not touch areas in printers that are hot or that use high voltage.
  • Know where the fire extinguisher is located and how to use it.
  • Keep food and drinks out of your workspace.
  • Keep your workspace clean and free of clutter.
  • Bend your knees when lifting heavy objects to avoid injuring your back.

Electrical Safety (

Follow electrical safety guidelines to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home and the workplace. Power supplies and CRT monitors contain high voltage.

Some printer parts become hot during use, and other parts might contain high voltage. Check the printer manual for the location of high-voltage components. Some components retain a high voltage even after the printer is turned off. Make sure that the printer has had time to cool before making the repair.

Electrical devices have certain power requirements. For example, AC adapters are manufactured for specific laptops. Exchanging power cords with a different type of laptop or device may cause damage to both the AC adapter and the laptop.

Fire Safety (

Follow fire safety guidelines to protect lives, structures, and equipment. To avoid an electrical shock and to prevent damage to the computer, turn off and unplug the computer before beginning a repair.

Fire can spread rapidly and be very costly. Proper use of a fire extinguisher can prevent a small fire from getting out of control. When working with computer components, be aware of the possibility of an accidental fire and know how to react. Be alert for odors emitting from computers and electronic devices. When electronic components overheat or short out, they emit a burning odor. If there is a fire, follow these safety procedures:

  • Never fight a fire that is out of control or not contained.
  • Always have a planned fire escape route before beginning any work.
  • Get out of the building quickly.
  • Contact emergency services for help.
  • Locate and read the instructions on the fire extinguishers in your workplace before you have to use them.

Be familiar with the types of fire extinguishers used in your country or region. Each type of fire extinguisher has specific chemicals to fight different types of fires:

  • Paper, wood, plastics, cardboard
  • Gasoline, kerosene, organic solvents
  • Electrical equipment
  • Combustible metals

It is important to know how to use a fire extinguisher. Use the memory aid P-A-S-S to remember the basic rules of fire extinguisher operation:

  • P: Pull the pin.
  • A: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames.
  • S: Squeeze the lever.
  • S: Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
5. Procedures to Protect Equipment and Data (2.1.2) | Next Section Previous Section