Unsafe Hot Plates

The MIT EHS Office strongly recommends that labs stop using the unsafe hot plates listed on the attachment (Unsafe Hot plates). Use the resources on this page to evaluate your existing hot plates and to replace hot plates known to either heat up even if turned off or continue to heat beyond the set point. Replace hot plates manufactured prior to 1984.  This is to prevent any more fires, which have occurred at MIT and at many other schools nationwide. Refer to UPenn and Oak Ridge Runaway survey. Also read their detailed report (scoll down to the attachment.)


The MIT EHS Office evaluated several brands of hot plates and asked the Chemistry Dept.'s Research Specialist.to evaluate the electronics of certain models. Details are available upon request. 

Fisher: Please contact Rachael Galanek for a quote. rachael.galanek@thermofisher.com

VWR: Please contact Mary Lynch for a quote. Mary.Lynch@vwr.com 

All of the Heidolph models have been NRTL listed, as of March 2018. Contact Dan Brown dbrown@heidolph.com

Requested confirmation that IKA has NRTL listing. Contact: Erin.McCarthy@ika.net

Purchase hot plates with the following safety features

  • Avoid combination plates if only stirring is needed.
  • Listed by UL or other Nationally Recognized Testing Lab
  • Separate on/off switch from the heat/stir controls
  • Automatic “over-temperature” monitoring (fail safe)   
  • Automatically turns off if external temperature probe falls out
  • Hot surface light 

Recycle your unsafe hot plates

Your EHS Coordinator will send instructions for decontamination and a green sticker. Submit a request for pick up in Atlas/ recycling tab.

Best Practices

  • Perform heating functions only when personnel are monitoring the hot plate (Watch what you heat)
  • Cut power when not in use
    • Newer models--use the on/off switch
    • Older models--Unplug
  • Always pick hot plates up from the base to prevent hand burns.

  • Don’t put hot glassware directly on the colder lab bench or on the surface of the fume hood.  The glass shards will fly everywhere.

  • Check the power cord for damage periodically. The cord could have been too close to the heat or the insulation could have deteriorated. 

Make your work area safer

  • Keep flammable solvents 2 feet away from hot plates, even when not in use. (on all sides, shelves/monkey bars) 
  • Keep plastic, paper, cardboard, etc. at least 6 inches away from hot plates
  • Clear shared work spaces of equipment and reagents when they are done with their procedure.

Discuss the attached slides at EHS rep and lab group meetings.

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