Electrical Safety Guidelines

Electrical Safety Guidelines

Be familiar with the electrical hazards associated with your workplace.

You may enter the laboratory only when authorized to do so and only during authorized hours of operation.

Be as careful for the safety of others as for yourself. Think before you act. Be tidy and systematic.

Avoid bulky, loose or trailing clothes. Avoid long loose hair. Remove metal bracelets, rings or watchstraps when working in the laboratories.

Food, beverages and other substances are strictly prohibited in the laboratory at all times. Avoid working with wet hands and clothing.

Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis.

Request new outlets if your work requires equipment in an area without an outlet.

Discard damaged cords, cords that become hot, or cords with exposed wiring.

Before equipment is energized ensure, (1) circuit connections and layout have been checked by a Teaching Assistant (TA) and (2) all colleagues in your group give their assent.

Know the correct handling, storage and disposal procedures for batteries, cells, capacitors, inductors and other high energy-storage devices.

Experiments left unattended should be isolated from the power supplies. If for a special reason, it must be left on, a barrier and a warning notice are required.

Equipment found to be faulty in any way should be reported to the DSC immediately and taken out of service until inspected and declared safe.

Voltages above 50 V rms AC and 120 V DC are always dangerous. Extra precautions should be considered as voltage levels are increased.

Never make any changes to circuits or mechanical layout without first isolating the circuit by switching off and removing connections to power supplies.

Know what you must do in an emergency.

Emergency Power Off:

Every lab is equipped with and Emergency Power Off System.  This consists of a large red mushroom switch on the wall labeled ‘Emergency Power Off’. When this switch is depressed, electrical power to the lab will shut off, except for the lights. Only authorized personnel are permitted to reset power once the Emergency Power Off system has been engaged.

Electrical Emergency Response

The following instructions provide guidelines for handling two types of electrical emergencies:

1. Electric Shock:

When someone suffers serious electrical shock, he or she may be knocked unconscious. If the victim is still in contact with the electrical current, immediately turn off the electrical power source. If you cannot disconnect the power source, depress the Emergency Power Off switch.


Do not touch a victim that is still in contact with a live power source; you could be electrocuted.

Have someone call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Administer first-aid, as appropriate.

2. Electrical Fire:

If an electrical fire occurs, try to disconnect the electrical power source, if possible. If the fire is small and you are not in immediate danger; and you have been properly trained in fighting fires, use the correct type of fire extinguisher  to extinguish the fire. When in doubt, push in the Emergency Power Off button.


NEVER use water to extinguish an electrical fire.

The above general laboratory safety rules are designed to safeguard you and your co-workers, fellow students and colleagues and are a minimum requirement for individuals working in laboratories at The University of California, Riverside.  Specialized training and rules may apply depending type and scope of activities involved.




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