Waste explosion at Texas Tech
Feb26

Waste explosion at Texas Tech

On Feb. 2, a glass waste bottle exploded in a Texas Tech University teaching laboratory, injuring three undergraduate students and a graduate teaching assistant. TTU has nowposted its investigation results online. In short, a nitric acid wash step was eliminated from the lab but the written instructions were not revised (I don’t know how this was communicated–with a verbal “skip step X”?). Nitric acid waste...

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Flammables cabinets: Metal or wood?
Feb23

Flammables cabinets: Metal or wood?

When choosing a flammables storage cabinet, it might seem natural to choose metal over wood. But it appears that wood deserves a closer look. A reader sent me this video, saying that he found it surprising and thought it might be useful information for the chemistry community. The video shows comparison tests of metal versus and flammables cabinets–and the wooden cabinets appear to do a much better job of protecting their...

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Lesson learned video: Acid burn
Feb05

Lesson learned video: Acid burn

I just learned about two new videos from the University of California, San Diego (again!). The first is a great lesson learned video from a researcher who was burned when trifluoroacetic acid ran down her arm: The second is more of a PSA-style video about eye protection: I’ve added them to my videos list. As always, let me know if there’s a good video out there that I should...

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Lab-safe, professional shoes for women
Jan29

Lab-safe, professional shoes for women

A query from chemistry reddit: Good lab shoes? I’m about to enter the corporate world but was having trouble finding women’s shoes both safe and professional. Do you know of any good brands or styles? I’d prefer low or no heel. Sanita or Dansko (closed-back) clogs are the main suggestions given. Anyone have other...

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Piranha solution explosions
Jan16

Piranha solution explosions

From the C&EN archives, but I believe still relevant today: April 23, 1990, page 2 SIR: We wish to report two violent explosions experienced with a sample of “piranha solution” used routinely in many laboratories to clean badly soiled glass frits and other surfaces. At Berkeley an explosion occurred in a bottle of this mixture that had been stored for several days. In this case, the solution was prepared by carefully...

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A radiation dosimeter to go on your hands
Jan13

A radiation dosimeter to go on your hands

I’ve seen radiation badges before, but never a ring. Courtesy of the International Atomic Energy Agency‘s Facebook page: This type of ring is a small badge that workers wear under gloves to monitor external exposure to ‪#‎radiation‬ as they work with different types of radioactive sources. The little diamond shape on the ring is worn facing the palm, as this is the area where highest exposure usually occurs. This ring is...

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Lawsuits detail injuries from rainbow demonstration fire in New York school
Jan06

Lawsuits detail injuries from rainbow demonstration fire in New York school

Three lawsuits have now been filed by families of students injured a year ago when a New York high school teacher poured methanol from a gallon container during a “rainbow” flame test demonstration. New York Post stories about the lawsuits give some details of the students’ injuries: Alonzo Yanes suffered second- and third-degree burns on his body, head, face, neck, torso, and hands. “He’s horrifically scarred,...

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Something to do in lab today
Jan05

Something to do in lab today

This seemed like such a useful lab safety activity that I thought I’d make it a monthly repost. From Derek Lowe, in memory of people who died in chemical incidents: So in memory of these four, here’s something that all of us who work in the lab can do today. Take a look around you. Remind yourself of where the fire extinguishers are (and there should be more than one kind). Think of how you’d get to the safety shower if you had...

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