Computers - general information

Working safely with computers

Assessments should be carried out at first use of the computer.

Organise your work to avoid overuse problems.

Seek assistance to resolve problems where necessary.

The Departmental Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessor can help on problems with set-up and adjustment to workstations.

Users should inform their manager of unresolved workstation problems, or if the user develops musculoskeletal problems.

Users can get their eyesight checked at their campus occupational health clinic or, if classed as a Significant User, by one of the College's appointed opticians.

Users with possible repetitive strain injuries or other computer-related health problems should consult with one of the College's occupational health advisers.

Computers - specific information

Safety Department links

Computer health

Departmental contacts

ESE safety staff

Useful information

HSE display screen equipment advice


Electrical equipment - general information

Electricity in use

Users have a responsibility to carry out regular visual checks of electrical equipment (particularly plugs and cables) for signs of damage. If a problem is found, switch off the equipment, mark as unsafe and report immediately to your supervisor.

Mains electrical sockets - ensure there are sufficient outlets to run all equipment. If possible avoid using power distribution outlets but where this is unavoidable keep them within legal criteria i.e., current load, cable rating and lead length. Daisy chaining of power distribution outlets and the use of plug style adaptors should be avoided to minimise risk of fire.

A residual current device (RCD) for some equipment is recommended to protect against electric shock in the event of a fault. Investigate whether your equipment should have one fitted.

Equipment construction

Staff or students constructing equipment - If this equipment contains mains or high voltage ie greater than 50 volts, then the equipment must be assessed for suitability and safety by a competent person before it is switched on or put into use.

Mains electrical equipment testing (Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)) is carried out on an annual basis. All equipment tested is date labelled.

Do not put back into use any electrical equipment marked as failed with a red PAT label without first arranging repair and re-test. All new equipment introduced into the department must be electrically tested.

Mains connectors and equipment must be raised off the floor by a suitable means in case of flooding and the risk from floor cleaning.

Water leaks on water-cooled electrical equipment must be avoided. Water and electricity are a lethal combination.

High voltages

High voltage terminals, 50 volts and over must be shielded to prevent accidental contact. Where shielding is impossible, ensure any high voltage hazard is clearly labelled with standard black-on-yellow warning notices. Also, consider the use of barriers to keep unauthorised personnel away.

If possible and practicable, use rubber gloves and insulating shoes.

Never work alone with exposed high voltages. Use only one hand to avoid shock across the chest.

The effects of high voltage

Voltage can cause pain and typically >70 volts and >25 milliamps can be fatal.

Suffocation is the most common cause of death from electric shock - know how to resuscitate (but isolate victim from source of electricity first, at no risk to yourself).

Burns from current through the body, arcing (molten metal), sparking, explosion (flammable gases) and also fires from short-circuits, overloaded wiring and incorrect fusing are additional hazards.

You are required to document your control of risk and hazards via a written risk assessment in order to produce a safe scheme of work.

Electrical equipment - specific information

Safety Department links

Electrical equipment

Departmental contacts

ESE safety staff

Useful information

HSE electrical safety