16.7.13

The computer laboratory

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The computer laboratory

A computer lab is a room set aside for installation and use of computers.

Safety precautions and practices in the computer lab

Computer systems are expensive to acquire and maintain, and should therefore be handled with care.

Causes of computer damage and measures to avoid them

  • Dust and Smoke- 
    dust and smoke damage the surface of the hard disk and other sensitive parts. To avoid them:

  1.   Avoid smoking in the computer lab
  2.   Cover computers with dust covers
  3.   Put curtains along the windows
  4.   Avoid entering the lab with muddy shoes
  5.   Use the dust blower to blow off dust from the computers more often

  • Water and Humidity- 
     humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Water and humidity can cause rusting and if water spills on sensitive computer parts, it can cause short circuiting thus damaging the components. To avoid this kind of scenario:
  1.   Avoid entering the computer lab with drinks and beverage.
  2.   Install the computer lab with humidifiers and dehumidifiers to keep humidity at bay.
  3.   Don’t put a water based fire extinguisher in the computer lab
  4.   Avoid splashing water when washing the computer lab. Though, vacuum cleaning is recommended.
  • Temperature
    initially computers are installed with a heat sink and a fan to cool down the CPU when it’s processing. Too much heat can break down the CPU or cause delay in processing. Therefore the computer lab must be kept with cool temperatures in the following ways:
  1.   Avoid overcrowding of computers and users
  2.   The computer lab should be well ventilated
  3.   Consider installing air conditioning system
  4.   Uncover computers while using them
  •  Power Fault-
    Electricity is the most precious need in any computer lab. It is also the most dangerous if not properly used. Power surge and brownouts are responsible for damaging computers. To avoid this:
  1.   Avoid unnecessary movements in the computer lab to avoid hitting power cables
  2.   Keep water off the power sockets
  3.   Switch off the computer and the monitor immediately in case power fault has been detected
  4.   Avoid children/pets in the computer lab
  5.  Consider installing  AVS switches(automatic voltage switches) to stabilize power
  6. Use UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to regulate power before entering into the computer. They can also be used to alert the user when power goes off.
  7.  Electric lines should always be insulated to avoid electrical shocks. They should pass in trunks along the edges of the wall into the strategically positioned sockets.
Data security and burglar proofing-
  data theft and stealing of computers should be kept into consideration when building the computer lab. To avoid this:
  1. Install security alarms
  2. Shut down the computer using the right procedure
  3. Put metallic grills at the doors and windows, strong roof and CCTV(closed circuit television) cameras
  4. Usually use passwords and encrypt confidential data. A password is a secret code the user must provide before accessing computer resources. Data encryption is the process of encrypting/encoding data in way that only the sender and the receiver can understand. For one to read this data, an encryption key (like a password) is required.
  5. Consider hiring security personnel
  6. Do not welcome strangers into the computer lab.
  • Fire-
     fire can physically damage computers. To avoid fire:
  1.   Do not smoke in the computer lab
  2.   Install a gaseous fire extinguishers
  3.   All electrical cables should be laid properly.

Measures to protect the user

  1. All cables should be insulate and laid away from busy paths
  2. Provide standard furniture i.e. the seat should have a straight backrest and the table should be strong enough to support computers and their peripheral devices
  3. Avoid overcrowding
  4. Provide anti radiation (anti-glare) screens to filter light. as shown in the diagram below:
  5. The room should be properly lit and ventilated

computer lab
Anti glare/Anti radiation screen
 
 

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