Personal Protection Equipment ¶ 

For the remanufacturing of electronic equipment, the following personal protection equipment is required:

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Robust gloves protect the labourer from cutting his hands by sharp objects or splints. Optimal gloves are tight so that the labourer is not handicapped in executing his work.

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Protective goggles should be worn whenever the hammer is applied or while removing cartridges and toners from printers.

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Dust masks should be worn while equalising the pressure in the CRT monitor, while cutting the CRT tube and while handling with the printer.

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Protective shoes contain steel bars and protect the worker in case of heavy components drop.

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Aprons are robust and easy to clean

Health & Safety Measures ¶ 

What to consider when dismantling certain types of electronic equipment.

Computer & Laptop ¶ 

It should be ensured that the different components, particularly the monitor, are not broken or damaged. Personal protection equipment like gloves, apron and robust shoes should be worn.

Laptops ¶ 

Hazardous materials: Main battery, CCFL, batteries on PWBs

The critical step when disassembling a laptop is the removal of the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). Avoid the damage of the CCFL during the removal of the LCD screen from the laptop body. Once the CCFLs are separated, they must immediately be put into an adequate recipient. As these lamps contain mercury, wearing an appropriate mask is recommended.

Primary components ¶ 

Desktop PC ¶ 

Hazardous materials: Batteries on PWBs

Demanufacturing a CU is relatively harmless. Although there are no critical working processes involved personal protection equipment like gloves, apron and robust shoes should be worn.

CRT Monitor ¶ 

Hazardous substances: Leaded glass, phosphor layer, PWBs

To dismantle a CRT monitor, personal protection equipment such as goggles, apron, closed shoes and gloves is crucial as some potentially harmful steps are involved (indicated in the description of the dismantling process).

Here the most critical points are replicated:

  • Equalize the pressure in the CRT glass body in the very beginning to prevent explosion.
  • Wear protective equipment to smash the magnetic deflector with a hammer as flying splints can injure personnel
  • CRTs must be handled carefully also after pressure equalizing to ensure that no substances of concern are released. CRT glass bodies should be further processed only in industrial channels with adequate facilities.

CRT glass separation ¶ 

Hazardous substances: Leaded glass, phosphor layer, PWBs

Here the most crucial points are:

  • Make sure the CRT is not under pressure anymore.
  • Wear protective equipment during the CRT dismantling. In particular, dust exposition should be avoided/minimized. During the glass cutting, a fume hood with an air pollution control system has to ensure the removal of any toxic dust. Additionally, a constant provision with fresh air must guarantee good air quality in the facility.
  • The glass and the phosphor layer have to be stored adequately, preventing any release of contaminants.

TFT Monitor ¶ 

Hazardous material: LCD backlights (CCFL)

The critical step in demanufacturing a flat screen monitor is to remove the crystal liquid containing glass and the CCFLs. Often the backlight lamps are already broken due to transportation. As these lamps contain mercury, wearing an appropriate mask is essential.

Keyboard ¶ 

Hazardous materials: Lead in PWB (old keyboards)

Dismantling keyboards is a simple task with no hazardous steps. Only very old keyboards have to be treated carefully as they contain a large amount of lead.

Mouse ¶ 

Hazardous materials: none

Dismantling mice is a simple task with no hazardous steps.

Subcomponents ¶ 

Power Supply ¶ 

Hazardous material: Capacitors

Dismantling a power supply doesn’t include any harmful steps. Nonetheless workers should wear personal protection equipment like gloves, goggles, apron and robust shoes.

Hard Disk Drive ¶ 

Hazardous materials: none

Dismantling a hard disk drive doesn’t include any harmful steps nor does the hard disk drive contain any hazardous materials. Nonetheless workers should wear personal protection equipment like gloves, goggles, apron and robust shoes.

Compact Disk Drive ¶ 

Hazardous materials: none

Dismantling a compact disk drive doesn’t include any harmful steps nor does the compact disk drive contain any hazardous materials. Nonetheless workers should wear personal protection equipment like gloves, goggles, apron and robust shoes.

Floppy Disk Drive ¶ 

Hazardous materials: none

Dismantling a floppy disk drive doesn’t include any harmful steps nor does the floppy disk drive contain any hazardous materials. Nonetheless workers should wear personal protection equipment like gloves, goggles, apron and robust shoes.

Printed Wiring Board ¶ 

Hazardous Materials: Batteries, capacitors

Handling PWBs doesn't present any particular direct danger due to the hazardous content of some components. The main exposure of the worker to hazardous substances comes from the dust that can be contaminated by several substances present inside the computer.

Therefore, it is recommended that workers:

  • fix the dust by spraying a little bit of water on the boards before handling them
  • wash hands regularly
  • heal injuries immediately (cuts)
  • avoid breaking open batteries and capacitors.

Printer ¶ 

Hazardous materials: Cartridges and toners, photoconductive drums (laser printer)

Toner and cartridges are to be classified as special waste. However, on dismantling toner cartridges and treating toner powder, dust protection measures are necessary to protect the air passage and to minimize occupational health hazards for concerned workers. If not handled by a certified enterprise, toner cartridges and powders have to be disposed of in hazardous landfill disposal sites.

Mobile Phones ¶ 

Hazardous materials: Battery

No steps are involved that present a risk to human health or to the environment. Nevertheless, workers should wear basic protection equipment like gloves, apron and goggles.

Cables & Wires ¶ 

Hazardous materials: none

Burning cables to remove metals is very hazardous and must be avoided.

Personal protection equipment like goggles and gloves should be worn as splints can snap around while using a side cutter.

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