The blog will likely be quiet for a few weeks, folks, as I’m off for a family vacation and then have some other things that need attention. I’ll be around when I can!
With that, our usual collection of chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- Over at Chemjobber, running a process-scale reaction with molten sodium sounds like fun. Er, not so much.
- Artful Science delved into radioactive artifacts again
- Chemistry in its element: Nitroglycerine
- Labor Department injury counts miss about 70% of burns, the Pump Handle reported
- OSHA has reformed its Voluntary Protection Programs, which exempt “model workplaces” from routine inspections. Among other things, the reforms involve “a shift away from incentive programs based on keeping injury and illness rates low. Such programs often discourage workers from reporting injuries, [an OSHA representative] said; OSHA now promotes programs that encourage and reward employee involvement instead.” (actual OSHA statement before Congressional committee)
- The National Labor Relations Board announced a review of its 2004 ruling prohibiting graduate student unionization at private universities. The decision “held that graduate-student assistants who perform services in connection with their studies are not employees, because they ‘have a primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.’” Will a change in this affect whether grad students are seen as employees for OSHA or workers compensation purposes?
Fires and explosions:
- “Red phosphorus and fiberglass powder, two materials used to make igniters for military oxygen generators, were mixed” at O.C. Lugo in Pennsylvania, resulting in an explosion; two people were injured
- A fire in a Cambridge University laboratory reportedly started with phosphine, says @sebspain
- A waste jar blew in a lab at Millersville University in Pennsylvania; one student was injured by a glass shard
- In China, a bus fire started “when 300 kilograms of azobisisoheptonitrile stored in 15 boxes overheated”; the incident killed 41 or the 47 passengers
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- About 1,000 gals of “sulfuric acid mix” leaked at General Chemical in Indiana
- A 10-gal drum of an organic peroxide ruptured at Bradley Corp. in Wisconsin
- Hydrochloric acid leaked at Northtec in Pennsylvania
- Leaking dicyclopentadiene got the full hazmat treatment at the University of Moncton, in Canada
Not covered (most of the time): meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; transportation spills; things that happen at recycling centers (dispose of your waste properly, people!); and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels.