From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Glassware injury lesson learned report?
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2015 09:36:05 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 4E6414BB-AD68-4F94-944C-CFACE91F9770**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <03048E312CBED348AFF78982D3A75A6576FE1431**At_Symbol_Here**>

No great details and no reports were ever filed, but here you go, Ralph:

1. Some grad students were removing one of those old giant made-in-place vacuum lines which had to be cut into pieces.  They were transporting it on a cart when the cart stopped suddenly but the knee of the student pushing the cart did not.  He managed to spear his leg on a narrow broken end of the vacuum line.   Can't remember if he needed stitches.

2. You asked for examples that did not involve over-pressurization.  However, pulling vacuum on flasks can be equally dangerous if there is a star crack in the vessel.  I was once working in a glovebox using a rotary evaporator and had about 70 mL of my dark red solution in a 125 mL pear-shaped flask when the flask imploded.  Instantly, blood red spatter appeared all over the face plate and every interior surface of the box.   I looked down at my gloves,, slowly moved all my fingers back and forth, and breathed a sigh of relief.  No injury, but it did take many hours to clean the inside of the box using paper towels and tongs as opening the box to atmosphere was not an option.  So the lesson learned is to always inspect glassware for flaws before performing experiments, but especially for vacuum line operations.  And to use appropriate safety shielding when performing vacuum operations.

3. Two anonymous students were horsing around in the hallway.  One of them, hmmm, let's call him "Rob", was pushed backwards through the window of the empty fire hose cabinet, both shoulders penetrating to the inside.  The glass was not tempered or safety glass, and it broke into large jagged segments all around his back.   After slowly extricating himself there was, amazingly, no injury.   So two lessons learned there - 1) horseplay = bad even if it's not in the lab proper and 2) those cabinets need safety glass; if they aren't being used it may be easier and will certainly be less expensive to remove the glass rather than replace it.

Side note: I was at the Corning Glass Museum yesterday, and they do demos of breaking regular, tempered, and safety glass every 20 minute or so.  If you're ever going near Corning, NY, it's worth a stop: and

4.  As a followup with respect to frozen glass joints mentioned in other replies, I have two write-ups on these:

For a high volume undergraduate lab that uses joints, a joint puller is not a bad investment from both a financial and safety perspective. If you have a glassblower, he/she is likely to have one, but for those of you who don't I have an email out trying to run down a supplier - if one still exists.

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Stuart, Ralph
Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2015 8:26 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Glassware injury lesson learned report?

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


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