How should I clean up broken or spent fluorescent lamps?

  • cleaning up a broken globe may expose you to some mercury vapour.
  •  not regarded as a health risk to humans
  •  an adult receives no more mercury exposure from a broken globe than an amalgam tooth filling and over a much shorter time frame
  •  the quicker you dispose of the globe (i.e outside in a sealed container) the less potential there is of any contamination to you and your immediate environment.

The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission for workplace exposure recommends:

  • open nearby windows and doors for 30 minutes before cleaning up the broken lamp

  • turn off air conditioning and heaters as these could recirculate mercury vapours back into the room

  • use disposable rubber gloves rather than bare hands

  • use a disposable brush to carefully sweep up the pieces with a small brush rather than a large broom (as this can spread the contents)

  • scoop up broken material (e.g. using stiff paper or cardboard), if possible into a glass container which can be sealed with a metal lid

  • do not use a vacuum cleaner because this can spread the contents of the lamp and contaminate the cleaner

  • if vacuuming of the surface is needed to remove residual material, ensure that the vacuum bag is discarded or the canister is wiped thoroughly clean

  • use sticky tape and/or a damp cloth to wipe up any remaining glass fragments and/or powders

  • dispose of cleanup equipment (i.e. gloves, brush, damp paper but not the globe bits) in a sealed container in your outside rubbish bin - never in your recycling bin

  • place the sealed container with the broken globe in a secure place until Globe Jockeys can take it away for you, or drop it off at your local recycling depot

Have you seen these other FAQ?

•  How many staff members does it take to change a light globe?

•  Can we perform our own •  Does Globe Jockeys supply light globes only?

•  How does Globe Jockeys dispose of the old lamps?

•  If there is an electrical problem, can Globe Jockeys do the repair?

•  Can Globe Jockeys repair and replace lights at high levels?

•  Do you need an electrician to change a light globe?

•  Whats the difference between fluorescent, incandescent, halogen and HID globes?

•  What are the different shapes of fluorescent light globes and their uses?

•  Can you use a dimmer with fluorescent globes?

•  What fluorescent light is right for my mood?

•  What does kelvin mean?

•  Are fluorescent light globes better for the environment or incandescent globes?

•  Is the mercury in fluorescent globes bad for the environment and my family?

•  Are fluorescent globes more expensive?

•  What part of fluorescent globes are actually recycled?

•  How are fluorescent globes recycled?

•  What types of globes can be recycled?

•  What should I do with spent fluorescent globes?

•  What is the Australian Government doing about recycling fluorescent globes?

•  What is the cause of flickering light?

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