What should you do if your clothes are on fire?
Nov04

What should you do if your clothes are on fire?

Stop, drop, and roll, says the National Fire Protection Association. From NFPA Standard 45: Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories using Chemicals, 2015 Edition: A.6.5.3.2 Laboratory personnel should be thoroughly indoctrinated in procedures to follow in cases of clothing fires. The most important instruction, one that should be stressed until it becomes second nature to all personnel, is to immediately drop to the floor and roll. All personnel should recognize that, in case of ignition of another person’s clothing, they should immediately knock that person to the floor and roll that person around to smother the flames. Too often a person will panic and run if clothing ignites, resulting in more severe, often fatal, burn injuries. Fire-retardant or flame-resistant clothing is one option available to help reduce the occurrence of clothing fires. Refer to NFPA 1975 for performance requirements and test methods for fire-resistant clothing. It should be emphasized that use of safety showers, fire blankets, or fire extinguishers are of secondary importance. These items should be used only when immediately at hand. It should be recognized that rolling on the floor not only smothers the fire but also helps to keep flames out of the victim’s face, reducing inhalation of...

Read More
“Tales of Lab Safety” webinar
Sep17

“Tales of Lab Safety” webinar

The ACS Program-in-a-Box series is featuring lab safety at its upcoming webinar on Oct. 20 at 7:00 pm Eastern: “Tales of Lab Safety: How to Avoid Rookie Accidents.” The speakers are Mary Beth Mulcahy, of the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board, and me. Hosting should be easy–you arrange for space and gather an audience, while ACS provides the content, promotional materials, activities, and raffle prizes. You can register...

Read More
PubChem adds safety summaries
Sep16

PubChem adds safety summaries

The National Library of Medicine’s open access PubChem database now offers Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries (LCSSs) that pull together safety information for individual compounds. PubChem overall aggregates information for more than 60 million compounds from hundreds of sources. So far, it has developed LCSSs for 3,200 compounds, and “we think we can get to 35,000 without too much effort,” said Evan Bolton of the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston in August. LCSSs are modeled after the summary format developed by the National Research Council for “Prudent Practices in the Laboratory.” PubChem only generates an LCSS if the compound in question has been classified under the globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals. It’s also important to note that PubChem aggregates but doesn’t curate, Bolton said. Consequently, information might be missing–such as whether a boiling or melting point was determined at 1 atm–or contradictory or erroneous. PubChem links back to original sources so users can evaluate the information. Bolton encouraged users to contact the help desk if they find errors so they can be filtered out. The addition of LCSSs to PubChem is the result of a collaboration by the Division of Chemical Health & Safety, Division of Chemical Information, and the Committee on Chemical Safety called iRAMP. RAMP stands for recognizing hazards, assessing risks of hazards, minimizing hazards, and preparing for emergencies from uncontrolled hazards–a set of four safety principles developed in “Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students.” iRAMP is an effort to develop a web platform to support the RAMP process. Bolton spoke at the Boston meeting in a session on “Current Topics in Chemical Safety Information,” and slides from the presentations are available here. In another of the talks, Stanford University chemistry librarian Grace Baysinger spoke about several other sources for safety information, such as international chemical safety cards. Her lab safety page is...

Read More
Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, July-August issue
Aug27

Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, July-August issue

Here’s what’s in the July-August issue of the Journal of Chemical Health & Safety: Editorial: Re-evaluating an old prejudice, by Harry J. Elson Why is weapons grade plutonium more hazardous to work with than highly enriched uranium?; from Michael E. Cournoyer, Stephen A. Costigan, and Bradley S. Schake (Los Alamos National Laboratory) Occupational exposure to nanomaterials: Assessing the potential for cutaneous exposure to metal oxide nanoparticles in a semiconductor facility; from Sara A. Brenner and Nicole M. Neu-Baker (State University of New York Polytechnic Institute) Semi-quantitative analysis of three hydrocarbon accidents; from J.C. Jones (University of Aberdeen) An ergonomic assessment of sample preparation job tasks in a chemical laboratory; from Meshel A. Mork (Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene) and Sang D. Choi (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater) Methyl ethyl ketone; from William E. Luttrell and Lauren R. Bellcock (Oklahoma Christian University) Materiality (“Generally, an expense is material when it exceeds one-tenth of one percent of the total budget for an operation”); from John DeLaHunt Do we recognize “near misses”?; from Dennis C. Hendershot (AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety) Electrical safety; from Peter C. Ashbrook (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) Lasting legacy?; from Neal Langerman (Advanced Chemical Safety) You have ten minutes; from Ken...

Read More
Process Safety newsletters
Aug04

Process Safety newsletters

From AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety, the “Process Safety Beacons” for the last few months: Mechanical Integrity – “You get what you inspect, not what you expect!” Conduct of Operations – “What are your plant’s critical safety control limits?” Know When to Leave! – “Know what can go wrong in your plant, when you should evacuate, and when to shelter in place!” Operational Readiness – “Any time that you introduce material or energy into equipment that is not currently being used, it is essential that you confirm that the equipment is ready. Are all of the parts of the equipment actually there and properly installed, or is something missing? Are all the valves that are supposed to be open actually open, and all the valves that are supposed to be closed actually closed? Is everything else ready to...

Read More
More Prudent Practices info available
Jul08

More Prudent Practices info available

From the National Academies Press, updated information on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Prudent Practices in the Laboratory has been updated online to include a download of the files that were previously only available on a CD with the print edition. This zip file is available on the Resources tab and contains a corrected version of the Chemical Compatibility Storage Codes. The full contents of the zip file are as follows: Sample Inspection Checklist ACS Security and Vulnerability Checklist for Academic and Small Chemical Laboratory Facilities Chemical Compatibility Storage Guide Chemical Compatibility Storage Codes – updated! Sample Incident Report Form Laboratory Closeout Checklist Laboratory Emergency Information Poster Laboratory Hazard Assessment Checklist Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Parts 261 and 262) Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste; Alternative Requirements for Hazardous Waste Determination and Accumulation of Unwanted Material at Laboratories Owned by Colleges and Universities and Other Eligible Academic Entities Formally Affiliated With Colleges and Universities; Final Rule Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries Blank Form for Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries Procedures for the Laboratory Scale Treatment of Surplus and Waste...

Read More