ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Microtome knives constitute one of the ever-present and continuing hazards faced by medical laboratory personnel in the production of quality sections for microdiagnosis. Because microtome knives are very sharp a cut tends to be deep. However injuries need not occur if precautions are followed and if microtome knives are handled with care and respect at all times.106 Always use knife guards on microtomes and carry a solid microtome knife in its box to where it will be used. Attach a handle before removing the knife from the box and never attempt to catch a dropped knife. Take extra care when tightening the screws used for holding disposable blades firmly in blade holders.

Superficial cuts should be cleaned well and always covered. Deep cuts should be tightly bound to stop bleeding and medical treatment quickly obtained.

Glass knives, prepared on knife making machines by breaking hardened glass under pressure, pose an extra hazard. Splintering may occur when making new glass knives and safety glasses should be worn to prevent eye damage. As the edge of a glass knife is also very sharp care is required when handling.


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