When handling, removing and/or soldering solidstate
devices, be very careful: in the Winter time static electricity build-up
can KILL any active device! Potential differences
in the tens of thousands of volts are common. It's the joules of energy
delivered to devices that KILLs! Some devices
need fewer joules than others.
When handling the PCB & the parts make sure that you have touched
and are holding on to the circuit's ground or power rail (Vcc).
When attaching one's self to ANY equipment, the
hazard of Electric Shock, even Electrocution can always be an unforeseen
The idea, of course, is to not allow the device you are handling, to
be in the discharge path of the static charge.
When you pick up an IC, transistor or diode, make sure to grab as many
leads (pins) as possible.
When you start to place the device on to the PCB (socket, holes, surface
mount pattern), make sure you first have made electrical contact with the
board, e.g., with the other hand.
Finally, always use conductive foam to place your work on, and to place
your parts into.