Bunsen Burner Safety Guidelines


Bunsen burners present fire hazards. They produce an open flame and burn at a high temperature, and as a result, there is potential for an accident to occur. For the safety and convenience of everyone working in a laboratory, it is important that the following guidelines be observed. In case of a fire, activate the nearest fire alarm pull station, notify all lab personnel, and evacuate the building.

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  • Place the Bunsen burner away from any overhead shelving, equipment or light fixtures by at least 12 inches.
  • Remove all papers, notebooks, combustible materials and excess chemicals from the area.
  • Tie-back any long hair, dangling jewelry, or loose clothing.
  • Inspect hose for cracks, holes, pinch points or any defect and ensure that the hose fits securely on the gas valve and the burner.
  • Replace all hoses found to have a defect before using.
  • Notify others in the laboratory that the burner will be in use.
  • Utilize a sparker/lighter with extended nozzle to ignite the burner. Never use a match to ignite a burner.
  • Have the sparker/lighter available before turning on the gas.
  • Adjust the flame by turning the collar to regulate air flow and produce an appropriate flame for the experiment (typically a medium blue flame).
  • Do not leave open flames unattended and never leave the laboratory while the burner is on.
  • Shut off gas when its use is complete.
  • Allow the burner to cool before handling. Ensure that the main gas valve is off before leaving the laboratory.

For more information, contact Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@wpi.edu.