Safety guidance for notebooks / laptops

We strongly recommend that you following these simple safety precautions when using a notebook (aka laptop), even if it's only for a short time.

  1. Make sure the device is resting on a flat, hard, stable surface such as a table top

    Despite the popular name, "laptops" are not safe to rest on your lap as this restricts the flow of air and can cause heat build up with a possibility of skin damage

  2. Connect to an external screen when working off a notebook for longer periods

    The screen should be properly positioned and adjusted. You can also connect a separate keyboard and mouse to ensure these are comfortably positioned when typing

  3. Unplug your notebook overnight, and check the battery periodically

    Despite rigorous testing, the Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries used in laptops can fail over time, leading to a fire hazard. Check the laptop case or battery compartment, and report any signs of swelling or deformity

Further information

Modern (2020) notebooks routinely operate at internal temperatures of up to 80C. Placing the device on a hard surface and keeping the air vents clear is essential for the built-in cooling to work effectively. When your notebook is working hard, such as installing updates, it may still get hot to touch.

Full DSE guidance is provided by the Safety Office, and you should undertake a self-assessment of your IT setup and wider workstation at least once every year.

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