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Potential Hazards with Laboratory Gas Valves

Please Print and Post Prominently in the Lab

Bunsen Burner
An incident involving a Bunsen burner caused a laboratory fire. Fortunately, there was little actual damage and no one was hurt. The cause of the fire was a worn valve "stop" and loose tension nut beneath the valve. Thinking the Bunsen burner had been safely shut off; the scientist stepped away from the bench. Seconds later the gas valve caught fire with a torch like effect from the leaking valve. The source of ignition was likely the still hot Bunsen burner. The fire was smothered using lab coats.

Safety & Security, EHS and the Hanover Fire Department were notified. The fire alarm was pulled and the building was evacuated.

EHS urges each laboratory at Dartmouth College to carefully review their use of propane (house) gas. Please check your Bunsen burners, tubing and gas valves before and after each use to ensure it is not defective, worn or likely to fail. Immediately replace or repair faulty Bunsen burners or gas tubing. Notify FO&M immediately if you suspect your valve is not closing properly or leaking.

Please take a few minutes to carefully review how to report a fire. Regardless of how big or small the fire may seem to be, proper reporting is critical as fires can become uncontrollable very quickly.

Please visit our web site for reporting fires
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ehs/fire.html

Environmental Health and Safety
November 21, 2003

Last Updated: 6/2/10