Safety share: Broken glass in the lab — Know which tool to use?
Your hands are irreplaceable. Protect them by knowing when and how to use small tools correctly. Here are some helpful tips:
In the lab
- Metal tongs can be used to help avoid injuries such as lacerations and punctures when working with waste bins, metal drums or any other container with sharps or toxic materials.
- Broken laboratory glassware should be handled with cut-resistant gloves since this activity has potential for cuts and punctures. Lubricate ground glass joints whenever possible. If glass appears to be stuck, proceed with caution.
- Glass tubing should be substituted in place of rigid metal tubing whenever possible. When it’s necessary to feed tubing through rubber stoppers, use a commercial glass tubing insertion tool. Be careful not to exert extra pressure. This could increase the risk of a hand or finger slipping and could result in injury.
- Pliers should be used with extra caution when cutting items thicker than wire. Keep cutting edges sharp and unworn in order to prevent the tool from slipping and causing potential injuries. Equal pressure should be applied on both handles.
- Wrenches should be pulled towards you, applying slow and steady force. Always select the correct size and avoid a worn or defective too
- Hammers should be appropriately-sized for the task. Remember to stay focused on the point you are striking and keep hands out of striking range.
- Razor blades with a single-edge blade are preferable. Or consider using a safety scalpel with guard. Never place hands and fingers in the path of the blade.
- Box cutters with self-retracting blades and plastic guards attached are preferable. Always cut in the direction away from your body.
Print and share this safety share, courtesy of Jackie Rossett (ESQ), with colleagues and/or staff. Beginning each meeting with a safety share is a great way to break the ice, begin team building from the onset of meetings and keep safety at the forefront of our minds.
Each month a safety share submitted by an individual will be selected to receive a Spot Award for demonstrated safety leadership. The Spot Award program offers three award levels: gold ($100), silver ($50) and bronze ($25).