Network Safety Precautions

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When working on computers and networks, it’s important to pay attention to safety. If you’re planning on taking the Network+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of network safety precautions.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. A technician has had prolonged contact with a cleaning agent and is getting a rash. Which of the following will provide the best information in this scenario?


More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Successful technicians remember that computing devices are just things that can be replaced, but people cannot be replaced. In other words, it’s always important to value people over things when working on computers and networks.

The following are some of the common safety precautions mentioned in the Network+ objectives.


Electrostatic discharge (ESD) refers to the discharge of static electricity. It can damage electronic components so technicians take steps to prevent ESD damage. You’ve probably experienced a static discharge at some point in your life. The most common way is after walking across a carpeted floor and touching a door knob. The static builds up on you, and when you touch the doorknob, it discharges.

The shock you felt might have been unpleasant, but it wasn’t harmful. If you felt it, at least 3,000 volts were discharged from your hand to the door knob. If you actually saw the spark when it discharged, it was at least 8,000 volts. The good news is these voltages won’t kill or hurt people, mostly because static discharge has very little current.

Network Safety

In contrast, as little as 250 volts can damage electronic components inside computing and networking devices. You won’t see it. You won’t feel it. However, the damage is real.

A primary method of preventing ESD is by controlling humidity. If humidity is too low, it allows static to build up quickly. If you live in a colder area, you’ll notice that static is more common in the colder months because heating systems remove humidity from the air. In contrast, when the humidity is higher, the static charges dissipate naturally. Ideally, humidity should be around 50 percent. Static can build up on carpets easier than other floor surfaces so computing devices should not be placed on carpets.

Technicians prevent ESD damage with ESD wrist straps, antistatic bags, and ESD mats. These help prevent the buildup of static by ensuring the technician and the equipment are at the same ground potential. Even without these ESD tools, if you touch the computer case before working on any components, it will harmlessly discharge built-up static onto the case. If you remove any circuit cards, don’t touch the components or the pins. Instead, hold the outside edges or the plastic handles.

Installation Safety

Installation safety refers to some miscellaneous topics beyond electrical safety or ESD.

  • Lifting equipment. When lifting equipment, it’s best to lift with your legs, not your back. In other words, instead of bending down to pick up heavy equipment, you should squat by bending your knees to pick it up. There aren’t any firm guidelines on safe weight limitations. However, many standards recommend that individuals do not try to lift equipment more than 70 pounds without help.
  • Rack installation. Servers and networking devices are commonly mounted in racks about the size of refrigerator. When mounting the equipment, it’s often best to do so with two people. One person can hold the equipment, while the other person screws the device into rack.
  • Placement. When mounting devices within racks, another concern is ensuring there is enough room for airflow between the devices. In some situations, instead of mounting devices directly on top of each other, it’s necessary to mount them so that there are gaps between them. This helps prevent equipment damage from overheating.
  • Tool safety. It’s also important to follow general safety practices when working with tools. The practices vary from one tool to another, but are outlined in the tools documentation.


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are available for most products that have a potential to cause harm to people or equipment. This includes materials such as cleaning solutions, paints, and chemicals. The MSDS identifies important safety facts about the material such as its contents and characteristics.

A primary element of the MSDS is first aid steps to take if the product causes an adverse reaction to either people or equipment. For example, you may use cleaning products that clean computer screens or keyboards. If any of these products is causing an adverse reaction to either people or the equipment, you can refer to the MSDS sheet for information on the product and additional steps to take after the exposure.

Remember This

An MSDS includes important safety information about potentially hazardous products. If a product causes an adverse reaction, the MSDS will include first aid information to minimize the effects.


Q. A technician has had prolonged contact with a cleaning agent and is getting a rash. Which of the following will provide the best information in this scenario?


Answer: D is correct. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the cleaning agent will provide the best information, such as first aid treatment.

A service level agreement (SLA) stipulates performance expectations, such as minimum uptime and maximum downtime levels.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) expresses an understanding between two or more parties indicating their intention to work together toward a common goal.

A statement of work (SOW) identifies the scope of work for a contractor.

Learn more about the other common safety precautions.

Sign up for the free Networking Components course here.



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