New Jersey Institute of Technologies

Safety Instructions for ECE Laboratories

Purpose of the Safety Handout

  • The purpose of this document is to ensure the safe and smooth execution of experiments in ECE laboratories. The safety rules have to be followed at all times when you are present in the laboratories.
  • You have to carry out the experiments in such a way that nobody will be injured or hurt and the equipment will not be damaged or destroyed.
  • Every student who participates in the lab course has to sign the safety agreement at the end of this document.

General Lab Rules

  • Absolutely no food or drinks of any kind are allowed in the labs.
  • Read the handout and procedures before starting the experiments and follow all written and verbal instructions carefully. If you do not understand the instructions, the handouts or the procedures, ask the instructor.
  • No horseplay or practical jokes involving lab equipment or procedures. Intentional misconduct will lead to the exclusion from the lab.
  • Keep the workplace tidy before, during and after the experiments.
  • Immediately report dangerous or exceptional conditions to the instructor. Report also any problems with the lab equipment (not working as expected, wires or connectors are broken, the equipment that smells or "smokes")
  • After the lab session, disconnect all cables between your circuit and the bench instruments and switch off their power.

Electrical Safety

The direct impact of electrical current to the human body can cause serious injuries and even death. The damage depends on the amount of current, the kind of current (AC or DC), the frequency, and the way the current flows through the body. It is the electrical current that causes harm but at low voltage levels of power supplies, used in almost all ECE labs, the skin natural resistance limits the current that can flow through the body to safe or imperceptible levels. The exceptions are ECE power labs that have special stringent safety rules and procedures.

Note however that in all labs every bench is equipped with AC outlets that provide power to the instruments and computers. Direct body contact with their conductors can be fatal.
Never make any connections between circuits in your experiments and the AC outlets! You may only plug into these outlets approved power cables of additional instruments (obtained from the stockroom or issued by the instructor), or chargers of your personal computers.

Note that low voltage power can be hazardous too. At high current level components, such as resistors (most often) or transistors, diodes, and chips can generate enough heat to burn your fingers or even explode and cause a fire hazard. This happens when a circuit is set up incorrectly. To avoid this problem follow these common sense procedures:

  • After assembling a circuit, check the wiring (with your lab partners) before turning on the power.

  • When making changes in the circuit, turn off the power. Turn it on again after checking the new connections.

  • Anticipate the power dissipated in the circuit components. Example: for testing a diode the required current is 200 mA, and you choose a series resistor of 100 ohms. Before turning on the current, calculate the power that will be dissipated in the resistor during the test. Keep in mind that most of the resistors in your kit can handle 0.25 W. What will happen to this resistor?

In Case of Emergency

  • Keep cool.
  • Immediately notify the instructor or call 3111
  • Try to help, but take care of yourself

If you call emergency services they need the following information:

  • Where did it happen?
  • What happened?
  • How many people are involved?
  • What kind of injuries/ diseases?
  • Wait for further questions! Don't break off the call yourself.

Safety Instructions for the ECE Laboratories – Agreement

I have read and agree to follow all of the safety rules. I realize that I must obey these rules to insure my own safety, and that of my fellow students, instructors and teaching assistants. I will cooperate to the fullest extent with my instructor and fellow students to maintain a safe lab environment. I will also closely follow the oral and written instructions provided by the instructor. I am aware that any violation of these rules that result in unsafe conduct in the laboratory or misbehavior on my part, may result in being removed from the laboratory, receiving a failing grade, and/or dismissal from the course.