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Common sense will keep you safe in most laboratory situations. However, if an accident does occur:

  • Call GW Police at 202-994-6111.
  • Notify the Staff in SEH 5450.

Safety Guidelines

  • Food, drink and related utensils shall not be brought into, stored in or consumed in a laboratory.
  • Shoes shall be worn that provide full coverage of the feet. No bare feet, open toe shoes or sandals are permitted.
  • Appropriate personal clothing shall be worn in laboratories. Avoid bulky, loose or trailing clothes.
  • Unauthorized person(s) shall not be allowed in a laboratory.
  • Be as careful for the safety of others as for yourself. Think before you act. Be tidy and systematic.
  • Avoid wet hands and clothing.
  • Discard damaged cords, cords that become hot, or cords with exposed wiring.
  • Carefully follow all written and verbal instructions. If you do not clearly understand or remember a procedure, ask your instructor or the laboratory staff before proceeding with the experiment/project.
  • Equipment found to be faulty in any way should be reported immediately and not used until it is inspected and declared safe.
  • Report all problems to the ECE Laboratory Tech Office (SEH 5450), 202-994-6854. In case of emergency, GW Police 202-994-6111 or dial 911.
  • Power must be switched off in an experimental circuit whenever
    • The circuit is left unattended.
    • The circuit is being constructed or disassembled.
    • Any circuit changes must be made.
  • Do not make circuit connections by hand while circuits are energized. This is especially dangerous with high voltage and current circuits.
  • Report accidents and injuries immediately to T.A. and instructors.
  • Some components can explode, burst into flames and get hot, so be careful
    • Electrolytic capacitors are polarized, which means they have a “+” side and a “-” side.  They can burst open or even explode when they are place in a circuit incorrectly.
    • Never exceed the voltage rating for electrolytic capacitors, as they may explode.
    • Some LEDs can “pop” or burst open and even catch fire if they are used without current-limiting resistors or the current-limiting resistor is too small.
    • Some components in a circuit can get quite hot even though they are functioning properly.  For example, linear voltage regulator ICs is often bolted to heat sink to cool them down.  Without a heat sink some of these ICs will get hot enough to cause severe burns.
  • Soldering irons are essential in the development of circuits; however, users should handle these tools with great care because they can cause fires, serious burns, and the release of fumes when heating the solder. For this reason, always:
    • Do not touch the tip of a soldering iron to find out if it is hot.
    • Wear eye protection while soldering.
    • Be aware of your surroundings and those you are working with.
    • Keep soldering iron in stand and far away from flammable materials.
    • Never leave a soldering iron unattended
  • Electrical Shock: A victim of electrical shock could be knocked unconscious. If the victim is still in contact with the live power source, turn off the live source or press the emergency power cut-off button before administering aid. Do not touch anyone that is still in contact with a live power source, as you could be electrocuted as well. After disconnecting power, call GW Police at 202-994-6111 or Health and Safety at 202-994-4347 or 911 and administer first aid.
  • Treat voltages above 50V RMS AC and 120V DC with additional care. Remember, only a few amps of current can potentially injure or kill you.
  • First aid kit is useful for minor injuries in the lab and is there to be used as needed. A first aid kit is located at the ECE tech office located in SEH5045 and technical staff are present to help you.