Like most things that are potentially dangerous, alcohol lamp may be a hazard.
It is however the person using the lamp that is often the greatest hazard.
I have seen a person stick them selves accidentally in the hand with a pencil. Should we then ban all pointed objects from the lab as they are potentially dangerous?
I believe that if the individuals using the lamps are trained and adhere to appropriate safety procedures there is no problem.
I do feel on the other hand, however that some of the alcohol lamp designs are not as stable as they should be. This can however be corrected by placing several small glass beads in the alcohol reservoir to make them less likely to tip over.
From: email@example.com on behalf of Peterson, Dan
Sent: Mon 7/28/2008 11:21 AM
Subject: [Histonet] Alcohol lamps
I am in disagreement with our lab's Safety officer with regards to
alcohol lamps. We use them in our embedding area to keep our forceps
The officer says that they're a fire hazard (even though we've used them
without incident for over 30 yrs). There are no flammable reagents
(other than the alcohol in the lamp) near the embedding area. I know we
could use the warming wells on the embedders, but try to find more that
1 pair of forceps that you like, or better yet, try to find a forceps
that the tech before hasn't left paraffin all over it. (Yes, I am a
fussy old goat, 27 yrs of Histo, with my 1 favorite pair that NOBODY
Petty issue? Are there others out there using lamps? I am willing to
change if necessary (or so ordered), but would like to hear from those
who do the work, not be told what to do by those who know nothing of the
work. Thanks in advance!!
Daniel R Peterson HT(ASCP)
Histopathology Section Head
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