Accidents are rare at repair events, but nevertheless you should take appropriate precautions, if necessary using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as described here.
Suitable safety equipment can reduce the risk of injury.
- This whole page is about safety.
Accidents at Restart Parties are thankfully rare, beyond the odd cut caused perhaps by a sharp corner on a metal case or a screwdriver which slips. We are mainly concerned with burns and fumes from soldering, damage to the eyes, and harm to sensitive hands.
Welders and glass blowers wear protective gloves, but these are inappropriate for soldering. The worst case scenario is generally a small burn causing blistering. Immediately placing the affected part under a cold running tap for a few minutes will bring relief, and will often avert blistering.
The flux used in soldering causes a small amount of fumes as the solder melts and runs. If you are doing a lot of soldering and in particular in a confined space then a fume extraction fan is a good idea. However, Restart Parties are normally held in halls and community centres with plenty of space for the fumes from a limited amount of soldering to disperse, even without a through draught. If the fumes rise into your face, as they sometimes do in close work, simply breathe our and gently blow them away.
The occasions are few when a broken fragment might cause an eye injury, such risks being associated more with machine tools. Nevertheless there are a few situations where you might wish to wear eye protection.
Wire cutters can project a cut end with considerable speed. Ensure they are angled away from you and any bystanders. Snap-off craft knife blades can take flight. Again, ensure they are angled away when you snap them off. If you open a hard disk and smash the platter in order to destroy any personal information, then you may find this is made of glass, fragments of which could cause injury. Likewise, breaking a CD or DVD into several pieces in order to destroy personal information stored on it can result in flying fragments.
Cuts and burns have already been covered. Some items such as vacuum cleaners and greasy kitchen equipment can be very dirty. You may wish to wear rubber or latex gloves to keep your hands clean, provided this doesn't impair your dexterity.
Always wash you hands after soldering as the solder may contain lead. Bear this in mind if nibbles are provided at your Restart Party.
Face masks for protection against inhaled dust, and ear plugs for protection against excessive noise are amongst the other items of PPE, but rarely if ever required in general electrical and electronic repair.
In its general meaning Personal Protective Equipment also includes such diverse items as harnesses and hard hats for working at height, and full nuclear, biological and chemical protective suits. When we start having to deal with teleportation pods or personal fusion reactors, we may have to revise this page to include these.