The danger of injury or death from electrical shock, fire, or explosion is present while conducting experiments in this laboratory. To work safely, it is important that you understand the prudent practices necessary to minimize the risks and what to do if there is an accident.
Avoid contact with conductors in energized electrical circuits. Electrocution has been reported at DC voltages as low as 42 volts. Just 100 mA of current passing through the chest is usually fatal. Muscle contractions can prevent the person from moving away while being electrocuted.
Do not touch someone who is being shocked while still in contact with the electrical conductor or you may also be electrocuted. Instead, press the Emergency Disconnect (red button located near the door to the laboratory). This shuts off all power, except the lights.
Make sure your hands are dry. The resistance of dry, unbroken skin is relatively high and thus reduces the risk of shock. Skin that is broken, wet or damp with sweat has a low resistance.
When working with an energized circuit, work with only your right hand, keeping your left hand away from all conductive material. This reduces the likelihood of an accident that results in current passing through your heart.
Be cautious of rings, watches, and necklaces. Skin beneath a ring or watch is damp, lowering the skin resistance. Shoes covering the feet are much safer than sandals.
If the victim isn’t breathing, find someone certified in CPR. Be quick! Some of the staff in the Department Office are certified in CPR. If the victim is unconscious or needs an ambulance, call 911 and contact the Department Office for help. If able, the victim should go to the Student Health Services for examination and treatment.
Transistors and other components can become extremely hot and cause severe burns if touched. If resistor or other components on your breadboard catch fire, turn off the power supply and notify the instructor. If electronic instruments catch fire, press the Emergency Disconnect (red button). These small electrical fires extinguish quickly after the power is shut off. Avoid using fire extinguishers on electronic instruments.
When using electrolytic capacitors, be careful to observe proper polarity and do not exceed the voltage rating. Electrolytic capacitors can explode and cause injury. A first aid kit is located on the wall near the door. Proceed to Student Health Services, if needed.