Re: Bunsen burners in a pathology laboratory

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From:"Barry Rittman" <>
Date:Fri, 16 Apr 1999 11:22:02 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=us-ascii

               there seem to have been several discusions regarding
laboratory safety. The one major problem that does not seem to be
addressed is adequate training of personell.  No matter what precautions
are taken to ensure a safe working environment there will always be
accidents if individuals did not receive appropriate training and if they
do not abide by the rules.
I think that a lot of the problem can be related to common sense. Many of
us assume that indivdiuals will apply some common sense and not do
something that we feel is illogical or just plain stupid. However, common
sense is not all that common. In looking deeply into my motivation for
working in a certain way, I have found that many of the things I regarded
as common sense were in fact the result of training and experience.
I have used a bunsen burner since 1957 for heating wax forceps and so far
have not had a problem. I am however careful as to what I am doing and
avoid buildup of wax etc. Many of the accidents which do happen are a
result of a routine task in which repetitive actions become somewhats
second nature and attention to the task at hand is lost. My perception is
that attention to detail, clearing and cleaning up as you go along will
remove the necessity for elaborate and sometimes counterproductive

Gregory Lloyd wrote:

> Hi folks,
>   I have just signed on to the histonet site...some interesting
> topics!  I have an interesting topic for people out there.  I have
> been the safety representative for our histology lab now for about
> one year.  A concern that I have is the use of bunsen burners in
> the pathology lab,  these are used to melt the wax off the forceps.
> I am aware of the safety concerns and issues about open flames in the
> lab.  My question out there is are others using bunsen burners,to
> melt wax off the forceps, or do you have another alternative that is
> not an open flame?  If so would you let me know what you use, where
> it can be found..or what different techniques are used.
>   Some alternatives that the lab has investigated are:
> 1) Microbiology uses an electric heater - this is a sealed well and
> the melted wax would pool in the bottom and possibly catch fire.
> 2) Eliminate all form of heating and just wipe off the forceps with
> a tissue wipe.  Some people still want to heat the forceps for the
> more difficult cases to embed.
> 3) My favorite is the wells in the embedding center, using multiple
> forceps.  The heat is still adequate and using three or four forceps
> off sets the slow reheat time.
>   The lab would like to find out what others do to get a feel for the
> industry standard.
>   Thank you in advance for your response.
> Cameron Lloyd, MLT-CSMLS.
> University of Alberta Hospital
> Capital Health Authority
> Edmonton Alberta
> Canada
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