Laboratory dryers, ovens, and washers are used for the washing and drying of glassware and plastic and for removing water or other solvents from chemical samples.

Hazards of Ovens, Dryers, and Washers

Fire Hazard

Putting plastics or other materials that are not made to withstand high temperatures into equipment may cause them to melt and ignite. This can set fire to the equipment and the room.

Health Hazard

Rinsing items with volatile substances or not rinsing away residual substances in the glassware before placing them in the dry will cause the substance to become airborne. The operator or others around the equipment could become exposed to the hazardous vapors.

Burn Hazard

Equipment may release heat and/or steam when first opening the door. Make sure to keep face, body, and hands away and open door slowly. Take care when removing hot items from equipment.

Steps to Working Safely with Dryers, Ovens, and Washers

  • All users must be training on each piece of equipment prior to use. The training must be documented and retained by the lab with other safety training records.
  • Ensure the equipment is properly maintained:
    • Ensure the seals are in good condition
    • Run equipment checks, where possible, to ensure seals are working properly, doors are locking properly, and temperature gauges are accurate.
    • If equipment is not functioning properly, the equipment must be tagged out of service until repairs are made.
  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
    • When removing hot items from equipment, wear heat resistant gloves. Take care that bare skin does not contact the extremely hot interior of equipment.
    • Wear safety goggles or a faceshield when opening the door.
    • A labcoat or apron may also be appropriate.
  • Ensure the materials used inside dryers, ovens, and washers are safe to use at high temperatures. If you are not sure, DO NOT use it.
  • Make sure to rinse any equipment or glassware before placing inside dryers, ovens, or washers. Residual chemicals left inside can during heating may volatilize exposing operators to the hazards.
  • Do not overload the equipment.
  • Do not exceed recommended operating temperatures.
  • Do not use mercury thermometers to monitor the temperatures inside an oven as breakage can cause exposure to mercury.
  • Do not plug in equipment with an extension cord.
  • If you have a model with an exposed heating element on bottom, do not place items on above oven that can potentially fall onto the heating element. Never place combustible materials beside the equipment.
  • Dryers, ovens, and dish washers should have exhaust ventilation installed to remove heat and humidity from the room.