As we move into an increasingly electronic age powered by computers and alternating current, more and more businesses are cropping up to create and service the gizmos and gadgets that we take for granted in modern life. The focal point of many of these businesses is the electrical workbench, where designs can be constructed or repairs can be carefully carried out. As with any form of skilled labour, there are dangers to health and safety associated with working at and around an electrical workbench. How can you reduce these risks and prevent accidents from happening?
Get the Right Bench
You’ll need to get the right desk to suit you. Electrical workbenches are available in a number of different sizes, so you’ll want to select one that allows you to work either standing up straight with your hands just above waist level, or to sit as a computer desk worker would, with feet flat on the floor. By making sure that you have a good posture whilst working for long hours at your workbench you can avoid many of the stresses and strains that can occur through repetitive work. Don’t forget that it’s also important to take regular breaks to relax and stretch to make sure that your muscles and tendons aren’t overworked.
It’s not just your desk and tools that you need to protect whilst working at your electrical workbench. It’s important that you take the proper care to look after yourself too. You should always wear safety goggles as you never know when a small piece of circuit board or plastic could shear away from an object on which you’re working and fly up into your face. Equally, you should consider what kind of clothes you’re wearing. Try to avoid garments that are loose and could catch on your soldering iron, and if you must wear a tie then tuck it away in your shirt to stop it interfering with your work.
Light and Ventilation
Making sure that your electrical workbench is well lit can help avoid accidents. If you’re working in conditions where your visibility is impaired then this can lead to dangerous situations if you aren’t completely aware of tools and equipment that are spread out on your desk. As well as making sure that your desk is well lit, you may also want to ensure there is adequate ventilation – the flux from solder can be toxic if inhaled and printer toner, which can be present in large quantities inside a printer that you may be fixing, can cause asthma.
Loose Cords and Cables
One of the most dangerous features of any electrical workbench is the leads that supply power to the tools on the desk, such as extension cords as well as the flexes for those tools. These can present a tripping hazard in the workspace that can be easily countered by using proper cord covers, which will not only help prevent accidents in the workplace, but will also protect your cords from damage and fatigue. It is also very important to make sure that no circuit within the workplace is overloaded with excessive amounts of plugs – make sure you stick to the rule that there should only be one extension cable or adaptor per plug socket and do not put adaptors or extension cords into other adaptors and extensions cords. Even if it does not overload the circuit, such practices can lead to equipment overheating, which could lead to a fire.
Static Dissipative workbenches
If you’re working on circuit boards from a computer then it’s very easy to damage them with static charge that you can pick up from around the workplace. This can completely destroy some of the sensitive components, such as CPUs that are essential parts of these systems. Static dissipative workbenches have special rubber mats that prevent charge from building up on the desktop as well as wrist cords that make sure you’re earthed whilst at work. There is nothing worse than having to inform a client that you’ve ruined their valuable computer system, server or storage device as this may also cost them important data. By using a static dissipative workbench you’re ensuring that you only ever repair important technological items and don’t damage them.
First Aid Kit
Always keep a first aid kit nearby when you’re working at your electrical workbench. Keep it stocked with a number of plasters and bandages that can be used to quickly deal with small cuts or can stem the flow of blood in the event of a more serious accident. You may also want to keep a roll of cling-film nearby to help out with burns that may occur from minor accidents with the soldering iron.
You can greatly reduce the chances of an accident happening when working at an electrical workbench by making sure that all your tools and components are organised in a structured system. This way you’ll not only be able to keep your workspace free from clutter, which will cut down on the chances of a mishap, such as cutting yourself with a Stanley blade or dropping something onto your foot, but it will also cut down on your levels of frustration. Most incidents occur in the workplace when workers are frustrated or pushed for time – by making sure that you approach your tasks in a methodical, well-ordered manner you can make sure that you make poor decisions under pressure.
Author Bio - Laura Holland
Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015