A while back we posted about some of the stranger lab accidents that have occurred over the years. It opened our eyes to the realization that strange things happen in labs quite often. Maybe more often than lab workers want to admit, but still they feel compelled to share.
So we’re going to pass along some more of the crazy (and, frankly, unconfirmed) lab stories that we’ve heard. While we hope you’ll find them amusing, we also hope they’ll serve as a reminder of the need to always keep lab safety at the forefront of your mind.
There was a new worker in a lab who was told to order bench protector pads. Yes, the real name for what many call lab diapers, but he also clearly wasn’t paying enough attention or perhaps thought lab diapers were a real thing. He found the closest item he could in his mind to this important lab safety equipment — “sanitary napkins.” Imagine the laughter ringing through the office when, a week later, 500 maxi pads arrived at his bench!
Of course, there were various ideas about what to do with them. The best idea we heard was to give them to the primate lab down the hall and let the monkeys use them.
One thing’s for sure: He never mixed up those two products again.
The Case of the Amazing Metallic Man
A MRI lab had to scan a subject and ended up with a mystery. Although the subject was a healthy-looking guy, his scans were impossible to read. They were filled with artifacts coming from something metallic. Concerned about lab safety—the damage metal might cause, and of course, the unreadable results,—the techs took him out, did a thorough metal check (none was found), and scanned him again. The results were the same: full of noise.
Now they interviewed him, asking all the usual questions, but came up with nothing. He didn’t have any metal implants, he hadn’t brought in any metal with him, and he hadn’t done anything else that would cause the wonky scans. Eventually they gave up on scanning the guy.
The subject left with the mystery unsolved. As the techs were cleaning up, they discovered miniscule iron filings all over the magnet. The metal appeared to be tiny shavings, but there was no place they could have come from.
It took a while to get everything cleaned up, and afterward, one tech was talking with a physicist about the issue. “Was the subject balding?” the physicist asked.
“Appeared to be,” said the tech.
“Oh, he probably sprayed hair from a can all over his scalp and was too embarrassed to tell you about it. That stuff is basically composed of thin metal filings and glue.”
Forgetfulness and Lab Safety
We all know that keeping your wits about you can prevent lab accidents, but it also prevents unintentional works of art. We heard about a lab worker who had put a bottle of beer in a -78 degree freezer toward the end of a long shift, then got busy and forgot about it.
The next time someone opened the freezer, it had been transformed into something amazing, as if a photographer had captured a single moment on film. As the beer froze and expanded, the cap flew off, the beer sprayed into the air in an arc, and the entire thing froze solid before the beer could hit the shelf. It was truly beautiful.
We understand they left it like that for a few weeks, but eventually they needed the room in the freezer and the art installation had to be decommissioned.
Have You Got Crazy Lab Tales to Share?
Have you got any lab tales of your own to rival these? Maybe you’ve been told one that could only be urban legend. Either way, we’d love to hear those stories, especially if they involve lab safety or a piece of dedicated lab furniture.
Of course, if you have questions about how our dedicated lab furniture can improve the safety and reliability of your lab, you should also contact us as well.
Have fun, and hey: Let’s be careful out there.