The ICT Lounge
Section 8.1:
Physical Safety
When using a computer, there are number of dangers than can physically harm you.

This sections looks at some of these dangers and also what you can do to prevent them.

Key Concepts of this section:
Understand what is meant by Physical Safety .
Know the different physical safety risks associated with ICT or computing.
Be able to describe causes and prevention strategies of each risk.

Physical Safety Issues
Key Words:
Physical safety, Causes, Prevention.
What is physical safety?

Physical safety in computing is all about ensuring that you do not suffer any harm whilst working with computers.

There are physical safety issues associated with ICT and computing.
There are a number of physical safety issues that can arise from using ICT devices.

Some of these safety issues include:
For each of these safety issues we will discuss the causes and how to prevent them.

What is electrocution?
Electrocution is caused by electricity passing through your body.
Don't use exposed electrical wires.
Keep drinks away from electrical equipment.
Never open up an electrical device.
Most ICT devices require an electrical power source.

Whenever you have electrical power sources you run the risk of the electrocution.

Electrocution is harm, or even death, caused by an electric current
passing through the body.

The main causes of electrocution along with prevention strategies are listed in the table below:

Causes and prevention of electrocution:
Faulty equipment (bare wires etc).
Make sure wires are insulated.
Spilling drinks over electrical equipment.
Keep drinks away from equipment.
Using malfunctioning or faulty equipment
Report any malfunctioning equipment to a technician.

(Don't use it!)
Opening up an electrical device and messing with the hardware inside.

(This should only be done by trained professionals)
Never open up an electrical device.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about the causes and prevention of electrocution:


ICT devices require power from a mains outlet.

Don't overload plug sockets.
Have a fire extinguisher in the room.
Keep vents clear to allow air circulation and prevent overheating.
If too many devices are plugged into a single mains at the same time it is possible to overload the circuit and start an electrical fire.

You need to ensure that your room has many plug sockets so you don't have to overload any single one.

The main causes of fires along with prevention strategies are listed in the table below:

Causes and prevention of fires:
Too many devices plugged into a single mains outlet.
Make sure that your room has plenty of mains outlets.
Leaving devices plugged in unattended for long periods.
Don't plug too many devices into the same outlet.
Covering air vents on devices like laptops.

(This can cause the device to overheat and start a fire)
Turn off and unplug devices if you are going to be away for a long time.
Have a CO2 fire extinguisher at hand to quickly put out any fires that start.
Make sure that air vents on devices are uncovered to allow free air circulation.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about the causes and prevention of fires:


Tripping over wires
ICT devices with wires can make a room a potential hazard.

Trailing wires trip people and cause injury.
Cable covers are used to encase loose wires and prevent tripping.
WiFi allows devices to operate without wires and removes the possibility of tripping over them.
Trailing wires are easy to trip over if they are not secured or tucked away.

Tripping over wires can lead to falling to the ground and breaking bones, ligament strains etc.

Causes and prevention of tripping over wires:
Long wires or cables trailing across a floor.
Encase the wires in cable covers.

(Cable covers are pieces of plastic or rubber that are used to encase wires)
Tuck trailing wires under desks or carpets.
Use wireless technology to eliminate the use of wires altogether.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about the causes and prevention of tripping over wires:


Heavy equipment falling
Some ICT devices (like computer screens) are fairly heavy and can cause injury if they fall on you.

Falling equipment can cause physical injury.
Position equipment well away from edges.
Use a sturdy desk which can take the weight of the equipment and has plenty of space.
Equipment should be positioned securely on strong desks and tables well away from the edge.

Causes and prevention of falling equipment:
Equipment not positioned securely onto desks.
Make sure that equipment is positioned away from the edge of desks.
Poor quality and flimsy desks.
Make sure that the desk has plenty of space.
Use strong desks/tables that can support the weight with ease.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about the causes and prevention of heavy equipment falling:



Click the above task and answer the questions about Physical safety.

Evaluating your own use of IT equipment
Key Words:
Safety risks, Evaluate, Identify, Strategies.
Evaluation activity:
Activity Sheet:
Click the image above to access you physical safety evaluation sheet.

Click the image in the blue box to the right to access the physical safety evaluation sheet.

You should carefully look at the image below and try to identify any potential physical safety risks that you can spot in the image.

You should log the risks and then describe some strategies that would help prevent each risk.

The image you are evaluating:

This image shows what computer desks can look like if we don't know how to practice the physical safety risk prevention strategies described on this page.

Click the image for a larger version.

Use the image to help you complete the physical safety evaluations task which you can access by clicking the image in the blue box to the right.

Please add your questions/comments below:

Links to Theory Units:
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring