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6 Tips For Glassware Safety In Labs

6 Tips For Glassware Safety In Labs

While designed to withstand high temperatures and even the most dangerous of chemicals, glassware designed specifically for laboratory use is also fragile and can easily be broken. If dropped, glassware can cause further accidents to occur, including spillages. Many accidents involving laboratory glassware could have been prevented by following these 6 tips:


#1 Inspect Before Use

Scratches, dents, cracks – these are the signs to look out for. Scratches can turn into cracks which could potentially leak, and if handling dangerous chemicals, spells a recipe for disaster. If you discover any flaws, be sure to dispose of the glassware and replace it with an undamaged alternative.



#2 Handle Properly

When carrying glassware, be sure to:

  • Use both hands;
  • Never hold it by its neck;
  • Never carry it by its side.
  • Also be sure to wear the correct safety clothing and gloves when handling glassware containing chemicals.



#3 Know The Limits

Check and double-check what chemicals can be used with your particular beaker. Can it withstand the pressure you’re placing it under for your experiment? What about its temperature limits? Has it been specially made to handle the chemicals you’re mixing? Keeping this information handy could potentially help prevent a dangerous situation from occurring.



#4 Rods, Tubes & Pipettes

Glass rods, tubes & pipettes, due to their design, can be easier to break than traditional glass beakers. When working with these, it is essential that you:

  • Never force it into place;
  • Use lubricant such as glycerine or (soapy) water on both the hole and tube;
  • Wear safety gloves;
  • Use a twisting motion to move them into place. 


#5 Label It

One of the most important practices when working in a laboratory is keeping a record of everything you’ve done, this includes labelling glassware to clearly indicate its contents. This can help prevent potentially dangerous situations from arising and should be standard practice for every lab scientist.


#6 Keep It Clean

When washing glassware, safety precautions should be taken. In many cases, the glassware should be sterilised after each use in order to prevent potentially dangerous cross-contamination and chemical-resistant gloves should be worn.

You should be sure to clear the cleaning area after each use and not overload the sink/dishwasher/soaking bin. When washing, never use old cleaning brushes – be sure to replace them frequently.


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