This article by Emma Algharbi was originally published at AI Furnaces on June 27, 2022. It is being republished here with the publisher’s permission.
Ovens for laboratory use are essential for day-to-day activities such as drying, baking, and heat treatment processes. However, lab workers must always observe oven safety rules; otherwise, they may end up injured due to fire accidents.
Knowing how to operate an oven for laboratory use will help keep everyone in the facility safe. But if you need a refresher, let this article be your guide.
Lab Oven Potential Hazards and How to Avoid Them
Safety should always be a priority when dealing with any equipment in a lab. Without proper caution, you may face dangers that can cause injury to you and others. Here are some lab oven hazards you need to be careful of.
1. Fire and Explosion Hazard
Not all materials can withstand high temperatures at the same capacity. If the oven delivers too much heat, it can cause the items placed inside to melt and catch fire. Some may also spontaneously combust and damage the equipment.
Before you place anything inside the lab oven, it’s important to take note of the material you’re dealing with. You should also keep in mind the temperature setting of the oven and how long the process should take.
2. Fume Hazard
Before putting anything in the lab oven, you have to make sure that all traces and residue of volatile substances are gone. If not, harmful fumes of the substance might become airborne, which could be toxic to you and other workers when inhaled.
The best way to avoid this is by thoroughly cleaning the containers you use and ensuring that the material you will be drying does not contain any toxic residue.
3. Burn Hazard
Ovens get hot after use, which can be dangerous if you are not careful. When loading and unloading items to and from the oven, do not let your skin touch its surfaces to avoid burns and injuries. Use the proper safety equipment like mittens and tongs to handle recently dried materials.
Lab Oven Inspection
Lab ovens are frequently used equipment that serves many purposes. Thus, it is essential to make sure that they are always in good working order. Here is how you can ensure that your oven use will be successful.
1. Inspect the electrical components
Prior to using it, double-check your equipment to see if it is in good working condition. Look for any issues with the cord or outlet and inspect the temperature sensing devices in the oven.
2. Test the knobs and switches
Observe the devices inside the oven and see if you can turn them off and on properly. If anything seems out of the ordinary, immediately unplug the device and put up a tag to notify others that it has become defective.
3. Calibrate the temperature
Make sure to check the calibrations of the oven regularly to ensure that the temperature readings are accurate. This will help you set the right heat level needed for your experiments to become successful.
Lab Oven Safety Guidelines
While it is a given to always handle lab ovens with caution, here are some safety tips and reminders on what you should be doing.
1. Do not store combustible materials
Never put plastic, paper, or cardboard anywhere in the direct vicinity of the oven. This can potentially catch fire and cause injury and harm to everyone in the lab. The same should also be the case for flammable liquids and combustible materials.
2. Ensure that all personnel are familiar with the procedure
Only entrust lab oven use to workers who have good familiarity with its operation and procedures. This includes knowledge about choosing a lab oven compatible with the material, how to set it up, and its limitations.
They should also be aware of what precautions to take to prevent incidents like fire, over-pressurization, and hazardous fumes.
Ensure Lab Safety
Lab ovens hold great value to your team because of the many different uses they can contribute to your experiments. However, it’s important to know how to use and handle them safely. This is not only for the benefit of the experiment but for your safety, as well.
Part of how you can safely use an oven can depend on its construction and what it is intended for. To make sure you choose the right one, reach out to AI Furnaces and learn more about our lab ovens and services.