The Safety Zone will be quiet the next couple of weeks while I’m on vacation. I’ll be back to attend David Snyder’s preliminary hearing in the UC Davis explosives case on July 26th.
But first, chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- The Long Chain of Responsibility Behind an Oily and Deadly Train Wreck: “as long as we depend heavily on oil, we all ‘own’ a portion of every disaster related to oil extraction, transport or use.”
- Also on the Quebec derailment, the rail tankers involved reportedly have a history of puncturing in accidents and are a staple of the American freight rail fleet
- Safety boards get unequal access, on NTSB vs CSB: ”Contrast the transparency [in the San Francisco plane crash] with the murky investigation into the April 17 explosion in West.”
- Regarding the Sheri Sangji case, “I teach graduate students who are about the same age. And they may be talented, smart, driven, capable. But we call them ‘students’ for a reason. They are early in their careers and it’s our job to both help them gain experience and to help keep them safe while they do so.”
- From Chemjobber’s Process Wednesday, “When ‘old school’ meant a bunker“
- A New Jersey jury found former Bristol-Myers Squibb chemist Tianle Li guilty of poisoning her husband with thallium. The Newark Star-Ledger has some excellent background reporting on the case.
- And a California jury found Hasan Ibrahim guilty of attempting to place various hazardous materials on a passenger airplane bound for Germany
- OSHA strengthens rules for ‘model workplace’ program
- Illinois hazmat reporting flawed, study suggests
- Wired showcased some incredible photographs of bullet cross sections. I’d love to know how the person who cut them pulled it off. I was told a couple of years ago when touring Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s High Explosives Applications Facility that the key to machining explosives is to do it slowly, so maybe that’s the trick here, too.
Fires and explosions:
- Molten zinc was the source of a fire at a Ternium USA plant in Louisiana
- A fire at Colonial Metals in Maryland was confined to the shipping and receiving area of the facility
- A fire at waste company Pollution Control Industries in Tennessee “had no toxic chemicals burning, but the flammable chemicals storage area was well involved”; two employees and three firefighters were injured
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- Assuming that the two leaks are the same thing, this story indicates that the “nitrogen” leak at Intel listed last week was actually nitrogen trifluoride
- Methanol or ethanol spilled at Stanford in a hazmat storage area, I think in mechanical engineering
Not covered (usually): 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