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5.1.6 Safety issues

Revision points:
Candidates should be able to:

Safety Risks:

A typical RCDPower supply:

  • Computers are generally connected to 240v mains electricity and must be treated with care. The computer should be properly earthed and the plugs should have the correct fuses.
  • Rooms should be fitted with a residual current device (RCD) to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • Trailing electrical leads should be avoided to reduce the risk of tripping or them being damaged and kick-boards under desks reduce the risk of feet tangling with trailing wires.
  • Leads should preferably be in trunking or be safely tied out of the way.
  • There should be enough power sockets to avoid them being overloaded.
  • Mains plugs and leads must be checked for safety once a year.
  • If the computer is moved or opened, the power cable must disconnected.

Fire risks:

  • In case of a fire, the fire extinguishers should be powder-based or CO2 (carbon dioxide) devices.
  • Water-based fire extinguishers should not be used on electrical appliances.

Food and Drink:

  • It is best to avoid eating and drinking near to computer equipment. Food crumbs can prevent a computer mouse or keyboard from working properly. Any spilt liquids are a possible fire risk near electrical equipment and can easily ruin items such as floppy disks.

Heat and Light:

  • Computers generate a considerable amount of waste heat and the room should therefore be adequately ventilated or even air-conditioned.
  • The lighting should be subdued to reduce glare from computer monitors.  Direct sunlight should be avoided using suitable blinds etc.  Computer monitors should ideally be placed at right-angles to any bright light sources.

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