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Lessons Learned

This page describes accidents at facilities across the country and describes best practices to avoid reoccurence.  Accidents are organized by type of industry.

Additional lessons learned can be found at UC's Center For Laboratory Safety,

 AIHA's Chemical synthesis lab accidents, the Laboratory Safety Institute's Memorial Wall, and

UC Berkeley's Lessons Learned.

 

       LABORATORY                                                                

Accident - Laboratory fire resulting from hydrogenation reaction         

Best Practice - Reduce quantities, run reaction in inert atmosphere, reduce temperature, use chlorinated solvent.

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Accident- Exposure to Herpes B virus from monkey.  Full story.

Best Practice - Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and goggles.

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Accident - Mercury poisoning  Full story.

Best Practice - Wear gloves that protect you from the chemicals you are working with.

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Accident - Fire from misuse of pyrophoric chemical.  Full story.

Best Practice - Follow standard operating procedure for use and quantity.  Wear flame resistant lab coat.

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Accident - Explosion in synthesis lab.  Full story.

Best Practice - Create and follow standard operating procedures.

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Accident- Hydrogen explosion.  Full story.

Best Practice - Use only intrinsically safe equipment near hydrogen.  Ground equipment involved with flammable gases or liquids.  Review any near misses before continuing work or scaling up reactions.

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Accident- Waste bottle explosion due to mixing nitric acid with organics.  

Best Practice - Separate incompatible chemicals into individual waste bottles that are properly labeled to avoid confusion.

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       FACILITIES

Accident - Hair caught in lathe.  Full story.

Best Practice - Don't work alone, keep hair secured, provide guards for hazardous equipment.