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:
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.
When carrying glassware, be sure to:
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.
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:
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.
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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