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024 Glass Light Cover Shatters During Cleaning

Lessons Learned

An employee was changing out a light bulb on a ceiling-hung light fixture. In order to change out the light bulbs on this particular fixture, the employee must remove glass globe light bulb covers using an 8' ladder. After bringing the cover to ground level, the cover is placed on a cart and cleaned with a microfiber cloth prior to changing the light bulb and reinstalling the cover. While cleaning the glass globe with the microfiber cloth, the globe shattered cutting the employee's hand which required medical treatment.

While cut-resistant gloves are required when disposing, handling, or installing light bulbs, it was determined that there is no specific personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for handling light fixtures. Even though tasks involving light fixtures are not on this departments’ PPE chart, cut-resistant gloves are typically worn while performing this job task. Further investigation determined that cut-resistant gloves were not utilized during this specific incident. If the proper PPE was identified and utilized for this job task, this injury could have been prevented.

A example of the light bulb and fixtures being changed and cleaned.
An example of the type of light fixture being cleaned.


There were many lessons learned during this incident including: 

  • Before conducting work, ALWAYS perform a task hazard analysis of the job to identify the hazards and controls needed to safely perform the work.

  • If you identify a job task, that is not represented on your department’s PPE Chart, contact your supervisor and/or your department’s safety professional to add the task.
  • ALWAYs wear the required personal protective equipment. The PPE charts reflect the minimum required PPE for specific job tasks. The hazard assessment will assist in identifying any additional PPE that may be needed to perform job tasks.
  • If you do not have the proper PPE, contact your supervisor and/or your department’s safety professional.
  • ALWAYS inspect glass light fixtures for cracks and deterioration before cleaning, and be sure to reinstall light fixtures after cleaning is completed.