Tips for working with glassware

Broken glass is one of the most common causes of laboratory injuries. In particular, cuts from forcing glass tubing into stoppers or plastic tubing are the most frequent kind of laboratory accident. To reduce the chance of cuts or punctures, use common sense when working with glassware. Inspect glassware for chips and cracks before use. When you cut glass, use hand protection and fire-polish all cut surfaces.

Follow these additional tips to reduce the risk of injury:

With proper precautions, work with glassware can be conducted safely.

Regardless of the precautions you take, glass may still break. Broken glass poses a hazard for puncture wounds and injection of hazardous chemicals.

Frozen Glass Stoppers. Ground glass stoppers frozen by contact with base solutions may be hopelessly welded. Those welded by fluoride solutions may have built-up pressure of silicon tetrafluoride. Be careful when removing frozen glass stoppers.

First try soaking the stopper in hot water to expand the glass. If this doesn't work, try a special solution for freeing frozen joints:

Paint the solution on the frozen ground glass joint or immerse in the solution. If you need to remove a stopper by tapping, wrap the stopper in a cloth or paper towel and wear gloves to protect your hands and prevent injury in case of breakage.

Safety Equipment Ordering Information

Labs that have the potential to contain hazardous glass and plastic (items that can injure if disposed of in normal trash containers) should be equipped with Fisher Scientific glass containment boxes. Hazardous glass and plastic includes (but is not limited to): pasteur pipettes, other pipettes and tips, uncontaminated slides and cover slips and broken or fragile glass. Glass containment boxes can be ordered through VWR. The ordering information is indicated below:

Item Vendor Item # Mfg. # Cost
Plastic Disposal Box PK6 VWR 58949-700 246526000 $50.38 (6 boxes)

Labs that have the potential to contain hazardous glass and plastic should also be equipped (or have access to) a pair of Kevlar gloves. These gloves can also be ordered through VWR:

Item Vendor Item # Mfg. # Cost
D-Flex Gloves (Best Glove) VWR 47742-330 Best Glove

$127.71 (Case of 12) $11.76 each

To order these items contact VWR Customer Service at 1-800-932-5000.


Mission Statement

The Risk Unit is responsible for evaluating loss exposures, assessing liability, handling claims, promoting internal controls and developing effective safety and health programs. The corporate and student insurance plans are managed by this unit.