Hazards of high oxygen concentration, mixing incompatible materials, and more in process safety newsletters
Aug01

Hazards of high oxygen concentration, mixing incompatible materials, and more in process safety newsletters

From AIChE’s “Process Safety Beacon” newsletters: Hazards of high oxygen concentration – “Autoignition temperature (AIT) and minimum ignition energy (MIE) are lowered markedly by higher oxygen content. Substances ignite more readily, burn faster, generate higher temperatures, and are difficult to extinguish.” Mixing incompatible materials in storage tanks – “Understand potential hazardous interactions among different materials that you unload into your plant’s storage tanks. The July 2016 “Beacon” describes the “Chemical Reactivity Worksheet,” a tool which your engineers and chemists can use to help understand chemical interactions.” …but the temperature was below the flash point! – “Because the vessel was operating below the flash point of the contents, the concentration of fuel vapor in the vessel atmosphere was too low for ignition. There should not have been an explosion hazard. But the fuel may not only be present as a vapor (remember dust explosions). The investigation determined that the vessel agitator created a fine mist of liquid droplets (Fig. 2). The tiny droplets were estimated to have an average size of about 1 micron. … Flammability testing demonstrated that the mist could be ignited at room temperature in air – and the mist would be ignited even more easily in a pure oxygen atmosphere.” Are you sure that vessel is empty? – “When returning equipment to service following maintenance, make sure that it is completely clean and does not contain anything that could be incompatible with process materials or operating conditions.” Corroded tanks! – “Holes in tanks can allow toxic or flammable vapors to escape into the surrounding environment. Corrosion can weaken tanks, pipes, or other equipment so they can fail under normal operating conditions.” Incident investigation of a steam pipe failure – “There is a reason for including a team of people with different expertise in an incident investigation… In this incident, the engineers and other experts did not recognize the machine tool marks on the failed pipe, and yet it was immediately obvious to the expert, experienced machinist. His knowledge completely changed the conclusions of the investigation, and was essential for understanding the cause of the...

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Eye protection in Cuba lab photos
May23

Eye protection in Cuba lab photos

In a recent cover story about chemistry research in Cuba, C&EN included several photos in which people were not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment–eye protection in particular–in labs. The photos garnered several critical comments, such as: Please, please, please wear safety glasses in the lab! This should be a minimum requirement for all photos in C&EN. No glasses – no photo. [T]here is no excuse for conducting laboratory work, or even being in a lab, without proper PPE. … I’m actually surprised to see such photos in C&E News without a suitable editorial comment. C&EN generally does require that people must wear eye protection at a minimum in photos and video. We probably refuse a few photos a month for that reason alone. We made exceptions for Cuba story photos for several reasons. One was a sheer lack of resources at the high school and university levels. It wasn’t that people were choosing not to wear eye protection, they simply didn’t have it. A second reason was that we didn’t want to misrepresent lab conditions. Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology has better funding than the schools, but the lab culture there still didn’t involve wearing eye protection. For the purposes of this story, we thought it was important to show the lab environments as they are rather than how they ideally should be. (Would it have been journalistically ethical to ship eye protection to Cuba in order to get “better” photos?) Consequently, C&EN decided to show the labs as they were, noting the lack of safety gear explicitly in the body of the story and in a photo caption. We didn’t make the decision lightly, and we realize that some may still disagree with C&EN showing anything but best safety practice. But we also know that our readers value fact-based, accurate journalism–which for this story meant using photos that we likely would not have accepted for labs in a more industrially developed...

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Creating a 21st century chemical research laboratory: Hazard assessments and fundamentals webinar
May09

Creating a 21st century chemical research laboratory: Hazard assessments and fundamentals webinar

Coming up this Thursday, May 11, an ACS webinar on “Creating a 21st Century Chemical Research Laboratory: Hazard Assessments and Fundamentals.” The description: Safety in the laboratory requires a full team effort to be successful. When everyone in the laboratory understands how to identify hazards, assess risk, and select the appropriate control measures to eliminate a hazard or minimize risk, accidents, injuries and near misses can be reduced. Join Ralph Stuart, an Environmental Safety Manager at Keene State College, and Kendra Leahy Denlinger of the University of Cincinnati as they discuss the new ACS resources that can support a safer and greener chemistry, and thus better science for the 21st century chemical research laboratory. What You Will Learn What are the newly created ACS technical and cultural resources to support laboratory safety How to incorporate the information provided by ACS’s Hazard Assessment in Research Laboratories in your specific research laboratory What is mechanochemistry and how to carry out chemical reactions without the presence of a solvent Green chemistry case study: how to avoid solvent-intensive process of column chromatography by using functionalized polymer resins which isolate products using simple gravity filtration Register...

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#Chemsafety programming at #ACSSanFran
Mar30

#Chemsafety programming at #ACSSanFran

The 253rd ACS National Meeting starts on Sunday in San Francisco. Here’s what’s planned for chemical and laboratory safety; the Division of Chemical Health & Safety has its usual CHAS-At-A-Glance ready for printing. You can also find CHAS and the Committee on Chemical Safety in the Expo at booth 1125. Note: I did not have time to proofread this after putting it together. If there’s something that you want to see, double-check the time and location with the actual program! SUNDAY, April 2 Morning Division of Chemical Health & Safety Executive Committee Meeting (agenda book); 8:00 am-noon, Park Central, Franciscan I room Afternoon High School Program; 1:00-4:25 pm; SF Marriott Marquis, Golden Gate C2 room (CHED, WCC) Establishing a culture of laboratory safety in secondary education Sex, drugs, and the high school chemistry curriculum Best Practices in Selecting & Presenting Safety Training Content; 1:30-3:20 pm; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS, PRES) Connecting safety culture to the educational mission Preliminary results of the chemical safety information and education survey Building safety culture through targeted training Flipped classroom techniques in safety training Relevant content, positive attitude, and memorable presentation Ask Dr. Safety: Chemical & Occupational Safety in the Cannabis Industry; 3:35-5:15 pm; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS) Sensible approach to workplace drug testing for cannabis Chemical and occupational safety in the cannabis industry MONDAY, April 3 Morning Committee on Chemical Safety meeting; 7:00-11:30 am; Hilton SF Union, Continental Ballroom 6 Textbooks & the Practice of Science: Before, During & After Gutenberg; 8:45-11:25 am; Park Central, Metropolitan III room (CINF, CHED, HIST) Supporting transmission of knowledge for chemical safety education: An information workflow supplement to the laboratory textbook Cannabis: Emerging Challenges in Regulations, Product Analysis & Processing; 9:00-11:25 am; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS, SCHB) Cannabis analysis: An overview of testing requirements and challenges in a rapidly emerging industry Quality control analysis of contaminants in the medical cannabis market in California: Pesticide, plant growth regulators, residual solvents, and microbiological contaminants in cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis infused products States as cannabis laboratories: The far-reaching implications of federal non-recognition in the regulation of marijuana contaminants Assessing regulatory compliance at medical cannabis operations in the United States for patient focused certification Challenges cannabis laboratories face in product analysis representative samples Hemp as a nutritional supplement: Ensuring potency, safety, and regulatory compliance in manufacturing cannabis-derived health products Teaching Laboratory Safety in the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum, exhibitor workshop by Flinn Scientific; 9:30 am-noon; Moscone Center room 250 Afternoon Undergraduate Research Posters; noon-2:00 pm; Moscone Center, Hall D (CHED) Chemical safety and chemical disposal Cannabis: Emerging Challenges in Regulations, Product Analysis & Processing; 1:30-4:05...

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Exploding pumps trigger Sciex mass spectrometer alert
Mar29

Exploding pumps trigger Sciex mass spectrometer alert

From Marc Reisch’s story at C&EN: Scientific instrument maker Sciex has told owners of more than 2,000 mass spectrometers to immediately shut down the instruments because a catastrophic failure of turbo pumps manufactured by Agilent Technologies could “result in serious injury or death.” To date, Sciex says, no one has been injured. According to a safety notice dated March 13 for owners of API 4000, API 4000 Qtrap, and API 5000 model mass spectrometers, the rotors of the TV 801 turbo pump can suddenly fragment and be ejected at high speeds. The pumps are used to create a high negative pressure in the instrument’s vacuum chamber. For more, go read Marc’s story or see the information on Sciex’s...

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