Chapter 2 - Safe Lab Procedures and Tool Use

This chapter covers basic safety practices for the workplace, hardware and software tools, and the disposal of hazardous materials. Safety guidelines help protect individuals from accidents and injury and protect equipment from damage. Some of these guidelines are designed to protect the environment from contamination by discarded materials. Stay alert to situations that could result in injury or damage to equipment. Warning signs are designed to alert you to danger. Always watch for these signs and take the appropriate action according to the warning given.

After completing this chapter, you will meet these objectives:

  • Explain the purpose of safe working conditions and procedures.
  • Identify tools and software used with personal computer components and their purposes.
  • Implement proper tool use.


Some of the important concepts to remember from this chapter:

  • Work in a safe manner to protect users and equipment.
  • Follow all safety guidelines to prevent injuries to yourself and others.
  • Know how to protect equipment from ESD damage.
  • Know about and be able to prevent power issues that can cause equipment damage or data loss.
  • Know which products and supplies require special disposal procedures.
  • Familiarize yourself with the MSDS for safety issues and disposal restrictions to help protect the environment.
  • Be able to use the correct tools for the task.
  • Know how to clean components safely.
  • Use organizational tools during computer repairs

Safety while operating the computer

Safety while repairing the computer

Additional Resources

Cisco Lab Safety Overview

- Computer Safety Procedures -                             please keep in mind these safety precautions are for         computer repair and cleaning:                                                            

·         Never spray cleaning liquids directly unto any part of your computer. Why?
Because contact with liquids may cause sensitive electronic equipment to malfunction, or corrode. Instead, spray liquids unto your cloth or other implement and then wipe away dust and grime from non-sensitive surfaces.

·         Do not spray canned compressed air with the can upside down. Why?
Because liquid air may come out and damage computer electronics. Instead, Always keep the canned air in a vertical position with the spray nozzle on top and use short bursts of air.

·         Do not touch any internal cpu component without wearing an anti-static wrist band or using an anti-static mat. Why?
Static is a great enemy of sensitive electronics. A mild static charge can ruin your computer, and the static that commonly build up in the human body will kill it dead instantly. Instead, wear a properly grounded anti-static wrist strap or work on an anti-static mat. At the same time, keep the computer on a stable platform above the floor.

·         Do not use a standard vacuum to clean inside your computer. Why?
A normal vacuum builds up a tremendous amount of static electricity, which will kill your computer on accidental contact. Instead, use a vacuum specifically designed for cleaning computers being very careful not to touch any internal components, or do not use a vacuum at all.

·         Do not attempt to clean the inside of a computer monitor. Why?
It may retain a high voltage even when unplugged. Instead, leave monitor repairs and cleaning of the interior to a professional.

·         Unplug the computer monitor and allow it to cool before cleaning. Why?
It is usually not advisable to apply liquids to an electrified item. The monitor carries a high voltage.

·         Do not leave a computer plugged in while cleaning unless you are certain there is not a "wake" feature that could activate. Why?
The computer may turn on while you are cleaning or repairing it and cause damage to itself or you. Instead, unplug all electrical items before working on them.

·         Do not touch an lcd screen with your fingers. Why?
You may short out the pixels and ruin it. Instead, use a soft anti-static, lint-free cloth as recommended by the manufacturer to clean dust and debris from the screen.

·         Do not use an unapproved liquid to clean your lcd screen. Why?
The wrong solution may remove or damage special anti-glare coatings on the screen. Instead, use the liquid cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

·         Clean up the general area surrounding your computer before beginning. Why?
It wouldn't make sense to leave dust and dirt in the area to get sucked back into your computer after it is cleaned as well as re-contaminate the external parts. Moving the equipment around will stir up surrounding dust, allowing it to settle in and around your computer.