Equipment supplier, engineer fined for death at Texas A&M University at Qatar
Dec27

Equipment supplier, engineer fined for death at Texas A&M University at Qatar

A Qatar court has determined sentences for a supplier of petroleum engineering equipment and one of its employees for a 2014 explosion that killed Texas A&M University in Qatar lab technician Hassan Kamal Hussein, Doha News reports. The court fined the company approximately $5,500 and the employee $2,700. “both guilty parties were ordered to pay [$54,900] to Hussein’s family members in blood money,” the Doha News story says. The company is identified as “Interventions,” which might be Intervention Rentals. Hussein was working with equipment to produce gasoline from natural gas, and a natural gas leak likely led to the explosion. The company and employee were charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to an earlier Doha News story. Hussein was survived by a wife and four children, who were between ages six and 12 when he died, Doha News...

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On nitrous oxide tank explosions and whipped cream shortages
Dec21

On nitrous oxide tank explosions and whipped cream shortages

The canned whipped cream shortage caused by a fatal explosion at an Airgas facility in August has been all over the news for the last couple of weeks. Plant operator Jesse Graham Folmar, 32, was killed in the explosion. The explosion involved a nitrous oxide holding tank and two tankers, and the facility has been closed since. That has caused a shortage of the gas, which serves as the whipping agent in whipped cream dispensers. Atlantic reporter Sarah Zhang talked to U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board investigator Dan Tillema about the explosion. Although the CSB report is not out yet, here’s what Tillema said about it: [Tillema] now thinks the likely culprit is the pump used to get nitrous oxide into the tanker. (There is also a small chance it was stray static electricity, which is impossible to completely rule out.) Residual heat in the pump can heat up the nitrous oxide enough to make the gas decompose into nitrogen and oxygen. This reaction releases more heat, which in turn makes more gas decompose, and so on. Kaboom. Tillema’s investigation will be published early next year, along with recommendations to prevent such accidents in the future. Also: Tillema says he has gotten questions about the accident’s connection to the whipped cream shortage. But as someone who has lived and breathed this investigation for months, he can’t help but think of the man who died. “It’s hard for me to worry about the whipped cream knowing that Jesse’s family members and coworkers are thinking about a lot more than whipped cream this year,” he...

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Lab safety at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education
Dec20

Lab safety at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education

Contributed by Samuella B. Sigman, lecturer and chemical hygiene officer at Appalachian State University, and Ralph Stuart, secretary of the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety and environmental safety manager at Keene College. At the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) earlier this year, we participated in a variety of workshops and symposia that addressed chemical safety in the higher education setting. A symposium on “New directions in academic lab safety” discussed several projects that support development of a lab safety culture in the academic setting. Presentations discussed ways to foster student involvement in safety outreach efforts, the cultural impact of developing an undergraduate lab safety course, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the globally harmonized system for hazard communication in the teaching lab setting. The full list of talks in this symposium included: Improving the culture of safety through student-led initiatives; Alice Paterno, Duquesne University Perceptions of student safety; David E. Gardner, Lander University Two credit laboratory safety course for undergraduate students; Michael Kahlow, University of Wisconsin, River Falls Improving safety training in teaching laboratories: New training modules for teaching assistants; Jay Wickenden, University of British Columbia From MSDS to SDS: Ideas to increase knowledge of chemical safety throughout the undergraduate curriculum; E. Kate Walker, University of Texas, Dallas Safety data sheets from suppliers: For lecturers, teachers, and technicians in education, just how useful is this document; Bob Worley, CLEAPSS (a U.K. science advisory service for educators) Plan to help chemical health and safety take its rightful place in the chemistry curriculum; David C. Finster, Wittenberg University In a second symposium, “How and why we do chemical demonstrations,” members of the ACS Division of Chemical Education’s Safety Committee discussed revisions to the division’s recently updated guidelines for chemical demonstrations. The guidance document gives special attention to scope, location, planning, and risk assessment and is targeted towards educational professionals with science training. It seeks to align best practices with recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association while informing users what they should do before, during, and after a demonstration in order to ensure the safety of demonstrators and audience members. As part of this symposium, one of us, Sammye, presented a paper on basic risk assessment development. This talk, “Hazard and risk assessment for chemical demonstrations,” focused on practical guidance for determining the hazards of a demonstration and how to collect and organize information into a basic risk assessment using five fundamental safety questions. The full list of talks in this symposium included: Why and how to use chemistry demonstrations; David C. Finster, Wittenberg University Revising CHEDs “Minimum Safety Guidelines for Chemical Demonstrations”; Monique Wilhelm, University of...

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Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, November-December issue
Dec14

Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, November-December issue

Here’s what’s in the November-December issue of the Journal of Chemical Health & Safety: Editorial: Risk tolerance, by Harry J. Elston Effects of work practices and upper body movements on the performance of a laboratory fume hood, by Kwangseog Ahn (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater), Michael J. Ellenbecker (University of massachusetts, Lowell), Susan R. Woskie (University of massachusetts, Lowell), and Louis J. DiBerardinis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) The application of ductless hoods in laboratories: What everyone should know, by Louis J. DiBerardinis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Evaluation of a secondary school cosmetology safety and health training’s effectiveness after implementation of a hierarchy of controls “pyramid game” using the “salon safety quiz,” by Alexa A. Patti, Alexsandra A. Apostolico, Lindsey J. Milich, Amy G. Lewis, Alison T. Murtha, and Derek G. Shendell (Rutgers School of Public Health) Verification study of an emerging fire suppression system, by Michael E. Cournoyer, R. Ryan Waked, Howard N. Granzow, and David C. Gubernatis (Los Alamos National Laboratory Heat and mass transfer simulation of the human airway for nano-particle water vapor, by Masoud Khajenoori and Ali Haghighi Asl (Semnan University, Iran) Anatomy of an incident, by Michael E. Cournoyer, Stanley Trujillo, Cindy M. Lawton, Whitney M. Land, and Stephen B. Schreiber (Los Alamos National Laboratory) Terephthalic acid, by William E. Luttrell and Robert L. Hester (Oklahoma Christian University) Hydrogen fluoride and alkylation, by Neal Langerman (Advanced Chemical...

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New safety guidelines for chemical demonstrations released
Dec13

New safety guidelines for chemical demonstrations released

The ACS Division of Chemical Education recently finalized new safety guidelines for chemical demonstrations, following a number of injuries from demo fires and other mishaps in the last several years. The guidelines build on similar efforts by the U.S. National Fire Protection Association and Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board. The new guidelines seem straightforward and contain nothing surprising. Hopefully they’ll help prevent further injuries. You can download the guidelines here. For a graphical version of the similar National Fire Protection Guidelines, see...

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