Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The safety-sorehead

A few months ago I needed to dry some salt, and had forgotten to put in a stove the day before. I placed the salt on a dish and used a heat gun to get rid of any water. The the fire-alarm was triggered. I was just fast enough to cancel the alarm on time. The heat gun was too hot for the alarm, but not for the drying procedure. I remebered that on our lab we had a gas burner like this:

I searched for the heat sensor of the alarm in the hood and ignited the burner as far from the sensor as possible. Within a few minutes I had my ultra-dried salt without triggering the alarm.

Sadly enough, our safety-sorehead heard the story and I was rebuked because open fire is not allowed in the lab. I knew this but we had a burner so I decided to play the unknowing idiot. I got away with it without consequences, and the reaction I wanted to with it went great.

Several years ago I worked at a lab somewhere else where the safety-sorehead was someone you never saw because he was 4 levels upstairs in a dusty office (nobody knew if the guy was even still alive). We used to dry molsieves in a flask at an oil pump and heat it with a Bunsen-burner. This was done next to the 30 litre ether distillation.

A few days ago I heard that lab is now closed because it almost burnt down completely. Safety-soreheads are not that bad after all, but I do miss a Bunsen-burner on our lab. A selfrespectful lab must have a Bunsen-burner, you do not have to use it, but you mus have it.

2 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

Ironically, I work for the building safety guy, in probably one of the least-safety-conscious labs. Man, I could tell you stories...

een of andere vent said...

I must say, it was quite a difference when I got into industry. They wore labcoats there!!! Wow...