The idead of this is to give newcomers to the hobby of radio collecting and restoration a few hints on workshop safety. It is based on my experience, and is written from the point of view of someone living in the UK - your local electrical safety rules and regulations may be different to ours.
The Author accepts no repsonsibilty for and death or injury that may occur from following this advice.
There are a few basic safety rules that will protect you and your new acquisition:
1. Fit your working area with a single Isolation switch, and make sure all your family know where it is, what it does and how to use it! If they can't diconnect you from the power, they can't give you any other help.
2. Use an Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB) or a Residual Current Device ( RCD) in the supply to your workshop. These devices will not prevent you from getting a shock, but they may well prevent it from killing you.
3.Use an Isolation transformer between the set you are working on and the mains supply - this can also help to protect your test equipment.
4. Keep one hand in your pocket! A simple rule, but it prevents a path across your chest and through your heart.
5. Never apply power to an unkown piece of equipment without a first giving it a thorough visual inspection. Look for defraded or missing insulation, missing parts, signs of damp, obviously incorrect parts, or any other signs that it may have been tampered with.
7. When applying power, do it gradually, using either a Variac (variable voltage transformer), or a series lamp. Some even recomend disconnecting the sets own power supply, and using an external variable supply to power up the equipment whilst fault finding (I must admit that a large number of faults involve the power supply, and mains transformers are very difficult to replace or repair!).
8. When working on equipment, remeber health and safety wasn't always well considered, so beware of live chassis, finger sized holes in covers and other traps for the unwary.
9.A lot of materials used in older equipment are now considered to be hazardous to health, for example, Cadmium in plated parts, Beryllium in ceramics of power valves and transistors, Mercury in older power rectifier valves (tubes), all sorts of lethal organic chemicals in capacitors (condensers), not to mention Asbestos in resistive line cord and insulation around dropper resistors. It is wise to learn about these materials, and take the relevant precautions when handling them!
10. A final simple rule, keep small children and pets out of the working area, what you do to yourself is up to you, but injury to others is unforgiveable!
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Copyright J.Beacon & M.Wroe-Parker 2003