“We are deeply saddened by the accident and loss of a good postdoc scientist,” Tsinghua chemistry department chair Xun Wang told C&EN.
“According to the investigation of the government police department as well as our own investigation, the tragedy was caused by the accidental explosion of a hydrogen gas cylinder,” Wang said. As of Dec. 30, the blast’s cause was unclear.
According to a post by the Beijing Administration of Work Safety, a Beijing vice or deputy mayor led some sort of safety inspection at Beijing University of Chemical Technology on Dec. 30. From the google translation of the post:
Wang Ning, deputy mayor stressed that one should draw profound Tsinghua University “12.18” explosion lessons, school leadership to further enhance the understanding of the management of dangerous chemicals laboratory. Colleges and universities are the place to nurture talent, but also to pay attention to people’s safety, especially teaching laboratories and research laboratories using hazardous chemicals, storage security is a top priority. Second, the schools to organize the pre-holiday special inspection responsibility to the people, the use of hazardous chemical storage to conduct a comprehensive clean-up, focus on examination of system implementation, test personnel training, check targeted contingency plans and emergency response, security. Third, the City Board of Education in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Education on College lab safety management, strengthen safety supervision system in Universities, in close coordination with safety supervision, public security departments, from management mechanism, team building, development of the system, rating, personnel training and risk analysis, study and formulate targeted measures; summing up and promoting some good experience and practice, work together to promote the city’s university laboratory safety management of hazardous chemicals, and strive accident does not occur.
So 1) colleges and universities need to pay attention to people’s safety, especially in teaching and research labs; 2) there will be lab clean-ups and inspections, and 3) education authorities are going to pay closer attention to safety. My question: Will any of the government or university responses lead to a culture that fosters working safely as opposed to a culture of compliance?
h/t to C&EN’s Jean-François Tremblay for the Beijing Administration of Work Safety link.