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Federal agency provides information on fluorescent bulb mercury hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released two new educational resources to teach workers about the risk of mercury exposure when a fluorescent bulb is accidentally broken in the workplace, and when crushing and recycling fluorescent light bulbs.

Compact and tubular fluorescent bulbs are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs when a bulb is accidentally broken, and how to safely cleanup a broken fluorescent bulb. but they contain mercury, a known toxin. As more businesses use these bulbs, more workers may be exposed to the toxin when a bulb is accidentally broken, or as they handle, dispose of, and recycle the bulbs.

An OSHA® Quick Card™ shows how employees could be exposed to mercury in fluorescent light bulbs when a bulb is accidentally broken, and how to safely cleanup a broken fluorescent bulb. 

For businesses disposing of or recycling fluorescent light bulbs, OSHA has created an OSHA® FactSheet, to help employers and workers understand the dangers and the kinds of engineering controls and safety products that can be used to protect workers.

Reduce the dangers of mercury exposure in workplaces where fluorescent bulbs are recycled or disposed of by providing workers with a clean-up plan, thorough training, and the appropriate personal protective equipment, including respiratory protection, protective clothing, and safety goggles.