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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical & Computer Engineering General  Laboratory Safety Practices

[Revised 1/12/2024]

The Laboratories in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department provide students with the best opportunity to gain practical knowledge. Students, Staff and Faculty should make themselves aware of the possible hazards that may be present in the laboratory. Following are some general guidelines that can be used to reduce the risk of injury caused by laboratory hazards.

Failure to comply with the policy or behavior that interferes with another’s authorized user effective use of the facilities is grounds for revoking the offender’s privileges and access to the ECE facilities.

Safety Regulations

Safe practice in the laboratory requires an open attitude and knowledgeable awareness of potential hazards. Safety is a collective responsibility and requires full cooperation from everyone in the laboratory. This cooperation means each student and instructor must observe standard safety precautions and procedures and should:

  1. Follow all safety instructions carefully.
  2. Become thoroughly acquainted with the location and use of safety facilities such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, emergency showers, eye wash stations and exits. See marked floor plan posted near exit staircases for equipment locations.
  3. Become familiar with experimental procedures and all potential hazards involved before beginning an experiment.

First Aid

For simple cuts or minor first aid use the First Aid Kits available in each lab as well as EE288 Technician Office. All injuries, no matter how minor, should be reported to your instructor and/or Department Technician.

For medical emergencies call 911.

Individual Response Procedures for Fires

If you discover a fire, smoke or an explosion:

  1. Shout for assistance.
  2. Activate the nearest fire alarm.
  3. If it is a small fire, attempt to put it out with available fire equipment. 
  4. If the fire is out of control and it is too large to handle with one fire extinguisher, isolate the fire by closing the doors and windows behind you as you leave. Do not lock the doors.
  5. Warn others and leave the building with reasonable speed using recommended exits. Assist disabled and injured persons in reaching assembly areas when conditions permit.
  6. Stand by to identify yourself and provide information to fire personnel.

If a Fire Alarm sounds:

  1. Secure any equipment you are using and switch the power off.
  2. Close doors behind you as you leave. Do not lock doors.
  3. Leave the building with reasonable speed using the recommended exit.
  4. DO NOT use elevators for evacuation.
  5. DO NOT re-enter the building until allowed to do so by the Police or Fire Department.

Individual Response Procedures for Earthquakes

If Indoors:

  1. Take action at the first indication of ground shaking.
  2. Stay inside; move away from windows, shelves, heavy objects and furniture that may fall. Take cover under a table or a desk, or in a strong doorway (anticipate that doors may slam shut).
  3. In halls, stairways or other areas where no cover is available, move to an interior wall. Turn away from windows, kneel alongside the wall, bend your head close to your knees, clasp your hands firmly behind your neck covering the sides of your head with your elbows.
  4. Elevators must not be used. They are extremely vulnerable to damage from earthquakes. Ground shaking may cause counterweights and other components to be torn from their connections, causing extensive damage to the elevator cabs and operating mechanisms.
  5. When exiting a building, move quickly through exits and away from buildings. Parapets and columns supporting roof overhangs may fall. 
  6. Assemble away from gas, sewer and power lines.

Wheeled Transportation Devices

Per University policy,  e-scooters and other motorized and non-motorized wheeled devices (including skateboards and bicycles) are not allowed within University buildings, unless it is a medical/ADA approved device.. Please lock them up using the provided racks outside the building. Parking these devices in the hallways or classrooms are a tripping hazard and can inhibit egress during an evacuation.

Laboratory Operating Guidelines

During the operation and use of the ECE laboratories, the following simple procedures and guidelines are essential and must be adhered to by all students:

  1. Food and drinks (including water) are NOT permitted in laboratories at any time.
         Food and drink are allowed in the ECE Study hall, room EE284.
  2. Door is to remain fully open at all times the laboratory is occupied.
  3. All containers must be labeled as to their contents.
  4. No tampering with alarm systems, wires or network cables.
  5. Know what you are working with and how to use it safely. Before beginning any new experiment, find out about the potential hazards involved and the appropriate safety precautions to follow.
  6. Perform only appropriate experiments, and be sure you understand the procedures involved before you begin. If anything unexpected, dangerous, threatening, or unmanageable happens, immediately call your instructor or the Department Technician.
  7. Wear the proper protective clothing and equipment for each job. This should include eye protection. 
  8. Students who are not appropriately attired will not be allowed to perform experimental procedures. Clothing that unduly exposes limbs to splash or drop hazards should not be worn i.e. Shorts, halter tops, sandals and open-toed shoes. Loose clothing and long hair should be confined to avoid contact with hazardous materials, equipment, rotating machinery, or heat sources such as soldering irons or open flame.
  9. There must be at least two (2) people in the laboratory while working on live circuits (greater than 50 Volts) or chemical processing.
    Shoes must be worn at all times
  10. Before starting your experiment, make sure proper equipment and circuit connections are made as per instructions in the laboratory manual. Verify your set-up with your instructor.
  11. All damaged or missing equipment or parts should be reported as soon as possible to the instructor and Department Technician. An online ECE Lab Issue Report is available on all lab computers.
  12. Equipment should not be removed from the lab station. If equipment is required elsewhere, contact the Department Technician.
  13. All electronic components, such as capacitors, resistors, transistors etc., must be returned to their respective storage trays when the experiment is finished.
  14. All leads and cables are to be returned to the wall racks when the lab is finished and oscilloscope probes are to remain with the oscilloscope.
  15. Benches and equipment set-ups are to be tidied up after each lab session. All garbage is to be placed in the garbage cans provided. No writing on equipment or benches is permitted.
  16. If students have any questions about the experiment, they should consult the instructor first and then the Department Technician.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical currents of astonishingly low amperage and voltage under certain circumstances may result in fatal shock. Low-voltage dc circuits do not normally present a hazard to human life, although severe burns are possible. Voltage as low as 24 volts ac can be dangerous and present a lethal threat. The time of contact with a live circuit affects the degree of damage, especially where burns are concerned. Very small electrical shocks, even small "tingles", should serve as a warning that an electrical problem exists and that a potentially dangerous shock can occur. The equipment and circuits in use must be immediately disconnected and not re-used until the problem is discovered and corrected by the instructor and/or Department Technician.

  1. When handling electric wires, never use them as supports and never pull on live wires.
  2. Report and do not use equipment with frayed wires or cracked insulation and equipment with damaged plugs or missing ground prongs.
  3. Report and do not use receptacles with loose mountings and/or weak gripping force.
  4. Avoid pulling plugs out of receptacles by the cord and avoid rolling equipment over power cords.
  5. Be sure line-powered equipment has 3-wire grounding cords and that you know how to use the equipment properly. Ask for help and instruction when needed.
  6. Any electrical failure or evidence of undue heating of equipment should be reported immediately to the instructor and/or technologist. If you smell over-heating components or see smoke coming from any circuit or equipment, switch the power off immediately.
  7. Ensure all equipment is powered-off at the end of each experiment.
  8. Only qualified ECE Department personnel should maintain electrical or electronic equipment.

Each semester students wil be required to read all safety guidlines and pass the Safey Quiz be being allowed to use the ECE laboratories.

[Click Here for Safety Quiz]
Note: You must be logged into your account to access the quiz.