From: Harry J. Elston <helston**At_Symbol_Here**MIDWESTCHEMSAFETY.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Glassware injury lesson learned report?
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2015 07:54:29 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CAJ2hcffLU67pbP-cr5FD88AVDGkMiCY+yhtUQu6GjmM6Ow0Lmg**At_Symbol_Here**

My first personally-experienced lab accident involved glassware: I was a high school Junior, working in the HS chemical stockroom and (mis)handling glass tubing while inserting it into a single-hole rubber stopper. I didn't use glycerine or any other lubricant (like soap) and I did the typical twist-and push of an L-shaped tube. Predictably (or perhaps not so much predictably when you're 16), it sheared and I deftly inserted the tube into the webbing between my left thumb and forefinger. Clean through. Bleeding like a stuck pig, I went to the teacher (tube still in my hand), he looked at me and said, "That was pretty f***ing stupid, wasn't it?"

He pulled out the tube, stuck my hand under the faucet and went back to the stockroom. He came out with a bottle of 0.1N silver nitrate, a Q-tip and a towel. He grabbed my hand from the running water, still bleeding quickly dried it off (sort of), dipped the Q-tip into the silver nitrate and said, "This might sting a little" and cauterized the hole in my hand. Yes, it sting, but not a little. He then sent me over to the first aid kit for a band-aid and said, "Bet you won't do that again any time soon. Now, go get those tubes prepped for tomorrow."

And he was right, I have never sheared a glass tube into my hand again. And I still bear the reminder of it.

So what were the lessons learned?

1.. Glass tubing has a fairly low shear modulus (A physics lesson). Use some kind of lubricant when inserting tubing into stoppers. (An administrative control)
2. It's sharp when it breaks - perhaps one should consider leather gloves when handling glass tubing. (PPE control)
3. Through-and-through wounds, even small diameter ones, bleed a lot. (A physiology lesson.)
4. Silver nitrate is a great cauterizing agent. Looking back, I would have preferred a a sterile solution. (Emergency first aid knowledge and application).

In the immortal words of Dr. Genevieve Quigley, my Hillsdale College Literature Professor, "No education of any kind is ever wasted."


On Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 2:57 PM, Luis A Samaniego <l-samaniego**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

There are also hand cut incidents when people decide to wash dirty glassware in a sink filled with soap and water without realizing a broken beaker with sharp edges is hidden under the suds.


Luis Samaniego

Sr Laboratory Safety Specialist

Northwestern University

Office for Research Safety

303 East Chicago Avenue

Ward B-106, W223

Chicago, IL 60611


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Lewin
Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2015 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Glassware injury lesson learned report?

We've had numerous injuries over the years with students inserting pipets in into "handypette pumps" such as:

Students would hold the pipet too far away and break them and stab their hands. This led to several solutions of varying results:

Training student before every lab (still got injuries)

Bbuying enough units that we could set them up in advance so students did't have to insert pipets. Worked very well although sometime the pipets came loose or students still tried to change them.

One accidental solution was when an instructor bought less expensive plastic disposable pipets, but discovered they could be washed and reused multiple times. The unintended positive is that the plastic one were much sturdier and didn't break.

We've had similar "stabbing" injuries when people try to insert glass tubes or thermometers into rubber stoppers and have actually added individual instructions in our departmental safety manual about using lubricant when doing such insertions.


On Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:25 AM, Stuart, Ralph <Ralph.Stuart**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Does anyone have a relatively detailed favorite Lessons Learned report for a situation which involves significant cuts from broken glassware in a lab that doesn't involve over-pressurization of the vessel? I'm doing a training next week for undergraduate students and I'd like to make the point that it's not always the chemistry that creates the problem. The example I have in mind could involve hot glassware that breaks when someone tries to pick it up and drops it, but similar events would be helpful as well.

Thanks for any assistance with this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College



Jeff Lewin

Departmental Laboratory Supervisor

Biological Sciences

Michigan Technological University

Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH
Company Information
Twitter: **At_Symbol_Here**MidwestChemSafe

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