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Safety Alert – Energy Saving Bulbs

Low energy light bulbs
Low energy light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs save energy


December 2011 – Contributed by Dan Herbster, Safety Manager

– From WesTrac CAT Safety Alert #: EX SA 013

Energy Saving Bulbs have been in existence for a long time. As the name indicates, these bulbs are
more effective as compared to an ordinary bulb in terms of power consumption. Most of us are currently
using these bulbs in order to save on electricity consumption and ultimately the electricity bill.

Energy Saving Bulbs come in different shapes, sizes and with different ratings in terms of Voltage
or Watts.

– Some Health and Safety issues on these Low – Energy Light Bulbs

However, these types of bulbs, if broken, can cause serious danger.

• If one breaks, everybody will have to leave the room for at least 15 minutes, because the bulb contains
Mercury (poisonous) which can cause migraines, disorientation, imbalances and other health problems, when

• It can cause people with allergies, severe skin conditions and other diseases just by touching
this substance or inhaling it.

• Do NOT clean up the debris of the broken bulb with a vacuum cleaner, because it will spread the contamination to other rooms in the house, when using the vacuum cleaner again. It must be cleaned up with a normal broom or brush and be kept in a sealed bag; disposing of the bag right away by placing the bag in a bin for hazardous materials.

WARNING: Mercury is dangerous, more poisonous than lead or arsenic

Below is advice on what to do if a low – energy light bulb breaks, at home or any other area where these
bulbs might be found:

1. Evacuate the room, taking care not to step on the shards of glass littering the floor.

2. Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the debris as the machines sucking action could spread toxic mercury
droplets around the house.

3. Put on rubber gloves and sweep the debris into a dustpan.

4. Place the remains in a plastic bag and seal it.

5. Do not put the plastic bag in the normal household bin.

6. Instead, place the bag in a recycling bin for batteries, which also contain mercury or take it to a
dump where it can be disposed of safely.

7. Try not to inhale dust from the broken bulb.

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