Near Miss Incident Reported

On Tuesday, May 4, BU Facilities responded to an early morning call from a custodian about a Bunsen burner that had been left on. No one was in the lab at the time of reporting. The burner was quickly shut off and the matter was reported to Environmental Health & Safety (EHS).

EHS followed up with the laboratory and learned that the researcher who was using it the previous afternoon had forgotten to shut it off before leaving the lab. The researcher added that they realized their oversight once home, but did not report.

Bunsen Burner Safety Guidance

Bunsen burners, commonly used in research labs, produce an open flame and burn at a high temperature that has the potential to cause injuries or fires if not used appropriately. It is important for users to follow some basic open flame safety rules:

  • Place the bunsen burner away from overhead shelves or items that may catch fire.
  • Always inspect the bunsen burner and hose for any damages or cracks.  If your hose is damaged, replace before use.
  • Adjust the collar to regulate the flame at a level appropriate to the experiment.
  • NEVER leave the bunsen burner unattended while it is on.
  • Inform other researchers that the bunsen burner is being used.
  • Consider affixing a sign near the bunsen burner that is in use.
  • Shut off the gas once the work is completed.
  • Set a timer to remind the user to turn off the bunsen burner when the work is complete and before leaving the laboratory.
  • Do a walk-through of the laboratory if you are the last to leave.
  • If you forget to shut off the gas or are simply unsure, call the Control Center for assistance so they can check for you:
    • 617-353-2105 (CRC)
    • 617-358-4144 (BUMC)
    • 617-414-4144 (BMC)
  • Full listing of emergency contact can be accessed below

View Emergency Contacts