Friday's snafu

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From:Tim Morken <>
Date:Fri, 03 Sep 1999 08:21:13 -0400 (EDT)
Content-Type:text/plain; format=flowed

Here's a good one for your safety officer and waste disposal people to mull 

We were surprized one day when some people in space suits were seen peering 
to the autoclave room. Soon after, some other officious people came into the 
histology lab asking if we knew anything about some paraffin blocks in the 
autoclave. We were thinking of a few blocks that may have accidently been 
dropped in the trash but we were dumbfounded when we went to the autoclave 
room and saw a 20 cubic foot autoclave dripping wax and the floor coated 
with about an inch of wax. The floor drain was plugged too.

After awhile the story came out:

A technologist was retiring and it was decided that the lab did not need to 
keep some very old paraffin blocks from old research projects having to do 
with leprosy. The tech duly handed over the blocks to the waste disposal 
people for what she thought would be an incineration disposal. Instead the 
waste people insisted that , before transporting them, the blocks had to be 
autoclaved since they had a microorganism in them. The tech protested that 
autoclaving was not a good idea (for reasons you can imagine) and besides, 
the tissue in the blocks had been formalin fixed so was harmless.

The waste department ignored her protests and put the cardboard box 
containing about a thousand blocks in the autoclave. You can imagine the 
ensueing finger pointing that went on!

Lucky for us, it had nothing to do with our lab!

Tim Morken
Atlanta, USA

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