Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. You are much less likely to injure yourself or damage components when using the proper tool for the job.

Before cleaning or repairing equipment, make sure that your tools are in good condition. Clean, repair, or replace items that are not functioning adequately.

An example of ESD is the small shock that you receive when you walk across a carpeted room and touch a doorknob. Although the small shock is harmless to you, the same electrical charge passing from you to a computer can damage its components. Self-grounding or wearing an antistatic wrist strap can prevent ESD damage to computer components.

The purpose of self-grounding or wearing an antistatic wrist strap is to equalize the electrical charge between you and the equipment. Self-grounding is done by touching a bare metal part of a computer case. The antistatic wrist strap is a conductor that connects your body to the equipment that you are working on. When static electricity builds up in your body, the connection made by the wrist strap to the equipment, or ground, channels the electricity through the wire that connects the strap.

As shown in the figure, the wrist strap has two parts and is easy to wear:

Step 1. Wrap the strap around your wrist and secure it using the snap or Velcro. The metal on the back of the wrist strap must remain in contact with your skin at all times.

Step 2. Snap the connector on the end of the wire to the wrist strap, and connect the other end either to the equipment or to the same grounding point that the antistatic mat is connected to. The metal skeleton of the case is a good place to connect the wire. When connecting the wire to equipment that you are working on, choose an unpainted metal surface. A painted surface does not conduct electricity as well as unpainted metal.

NOTE: Attach the wire on the same side of the equipment as the arm wearing the antistatic wrist strap. This helps keep the wire out of the way while you are working.

Although wearing a wrist strap helps prevent ESD, you can further reduce the risks by not wearing clothing made of silk, polyester, or wool. These fabrics are more likely to generate a static charge.

NOTE: Technicians should roll up their sleeves, remove scarves or ties, and tuck in shirts to prevent interference from clothing. Ensure that earrings, necklaces, and other loose jewelry are properly secured.

CAUTION: Never wear an antistatic wrist strap if you are repairing a CRT monitor or a power supply unit.