Workshop Safety
Written by Bryce Ringwood   

Here are a few tips to help you survive , if you are experimenting with valves and high voltages

  • Be sure your house wiring complies with current electrical standards and that your earth-leakage switch operates correctly

  • Never work with the equipment you are working on connected directly to the mains. Always use an isolation transformer

  • Have a mobile phone handy – if you need help you can call for it quickly

  • Use lifting equipment for large and heavy radios, inverters etc

  • Don't perch things on the edge of the bench where they may fall and injure you

  • If possible, work with one hand in your pocket – this may avoid an electric current crossing your chest

  • Work in a well-lit environment

  • When applying power for the first time, stand away from the equipment – out of the line of fire of any exploding electrolytic capacitors.

  • Wear safety glasses

  • Work in a dry environment

  • Beware of Gas. Work in a well ventilated area

  • Be aware that lead is poisonous – always wash your hands after working on repairs.

  • Read the safety instructions that come with your tools, solvents, solders etc.

  • Concentrate. If you are interrupted, stop what you are doing, and return when the interruption has gone

  • Study the circuit. Know where the high voltages are

  • Finally, my favourite, don't put chemicals in cups, glasses or other kitchenware. (Printed circuit etching fluid tastes horrible-believe me.)

  • A reader, Paul Kalil, has pointed out that there are many hazards from substances, for example, the dust in old radios could contain the hantavirus (something really cheerful to google), chemicals (PCBs) used in the manufacture etc. Among the worst is beryllium oxide used in RF power transistors. A fraction of a microgram is poisonous - never break these things open.

  • You might want to use lead-free solder on new projects. (Confession - I don't like it.) 


If I have forgotten something here – please let me know


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