Students suffered burns, eye injuries at Donghua University
Sep28

Students suffered burns, eye injuries at Donghua University

Three Donghua University graduate students in the School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, & Bioengineering were injured in an incident involving potassium permanganate, according to the university and local news reports. The university says in a Sept. 23 post on the microblogging site Weibo that the incident is still being investigated. Two of the students were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for facial burns and eye injuries, the Sept. 23 post says. One of the two hospitalized students required eye surgery and further treatment. The third injured student received abrasions and was not hospitalized, the University posted on Sept. 21. The Sigma-Aldrich Safety Data Sheet for potassium permanganate notes that it is an oxidizer that can cause skin corrosion and serious eye damage. It is also toxic if consumed orally by humans. I’ve e-mailed the dean of the Donghua School Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, & Bioengineering to find out more about the incident, but so far he has not responded to me. If anyone who reads Chinese would like to go through the 44 pages of comments of Weibo and let me know if there’s any more information there, I’d welcome...

Read More
University of Hawaii faces $115,500 fine for lab explosion
Sep27

University of Hawaii faces $115,500 fine for lab explosion

From my story at C&EN: The University of Hawaii faces a total $115,500 fine for 15 workplace safety violations after a laboratory explosion in March on the university’s Manoa campus. Postdoctoral researcher Thea Ekins-Coward, who worked for the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, lost one of her arms in the explosion. You can read the rest here, including a full list of the citations. All of the citations were labeled as “serious” and given the maximum state penalty of $7,700 each. Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) watchers will look at that $7,700 number and wonder why it’s so low. Earlier this year, OSHA increased its maximum penalty for a serious violation to $12,471. States that operate their own occupational safety and health plans are required to match or meet the federal civil penalties. Hawaii has not yet updated its civil penalties because the federal guidance was issued too late in the Hawaii legislative session this year, Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health Division spokesman William G. Kuntsman says. For more about the OSHA fine increases and other ways the agency is looking to strengthen consequences for companies that endanger workers, see my story from earlier this year, “Chemical employers to face tougher worker safety...

Read More
Hazard assessment tool released
Sep01

Hazard assessment tool released

The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety has developed a website with a collection of methods and tools for assessing hazards in research laboratories. The tool is based on the committee’s publication “Identifying & Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories.” From the website: 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. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WILL: Familiarize you with the fundamentals of hazard assessment; Guide you through preparation practices such as scoping and assembling your team; Offer a number of ways to conduct hazard assessments; Provide tools (e.g., templates, examples, etc.) that can be shared with your team and used...

Read More
#Chemsafety programming at #ACSPhilly
Aug18

#Chemsafety programming at #ACSPhilly

The 252nd ACS National Meeting starts on Sunday in Philadelphia. 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 727. 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 Morning Division of Chemical Health & Safety Executive Committee open meeting, here’s the agenda book; 8:00 AM-noon; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Grand Ballroom Salon C Bringing Cheminformatics into the College Chemistry Classroom; 8:15 AM-12:05 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 112B (CINF, CHED) Learning to find the right information: A survey of chemistry information literacy in the undergraduate classroom Co-developing chemical information management and laboratory safety skills Introducing SIVVU, a web-based program for modeling spectrophotometric titration data Integration of cheminformatics material into the STEMWiki hyperlibrary Holistic approach to cheminformatics in a liberal arts environment Cheminformatics education and research at home: The best way to teach graduate chemistry in the professional community Fall 2015 cheminformatics OLCC project based learning: Validation of Wikipedia Chembox hazard information Cheminformatics in the chemistry classroom Modern cheminformatics tools in the teaching laboratory: A practical exercise simulating a drug discovery project Afternoon Division of Chemical Health & Safety Awards; 1:30-4:10 PM; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Independence III (CHAS, CHED) Evolutions of the collaboration between the Safety Office and the Department of Chemistry at Duke University Establishing a safety culture in a new research lab: Communication, repetition, and accountability Safety in undergraduate chemistry: It takes the whole department Reflections of a career: Where you end up when you don’t know where you are going Past, present and yet to be achieved: A personal chemical safety journey by a synthetic chemist Division of Chemical Education Safety Committee open meeting; 4:00-5:30 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 102B MONDAY Morning Committee on Chemical Safety open meeting; 7:00 AM-noon; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Franklin 1/2 Understanding Nanomaterial Behavior: Breakthroughs & Challenges; 9:00 AM-noon; Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Congress B (ENVR) Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges: A National Nanotechnology Coordination Office perspective Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges, research, and opportunities panel Nanotechnology health implications research consortium Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges, research, and opportunities federal panel: NIST perspective Afternoon Chemistry of the People, by the People, for the People; 1:30-3:50 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 201A (CHED, ANYL, CEI, MPPG) Fuels chemistry for the people – Energy & Fuels Division (ENFL) Energy for the people Nuclear chemistry’s role in the 21st century Chemistry of the...

Read More
Peroxide formation in 2-propanol
Aug16

Peroxide formation in 2-propanol

C&EN ran a safety letter a couple of weeks ago regarding peroxide formation in 2-propanol: Two years ago we experienced an explosion in our lab at the end of 2-propanol distillation. Luckily, it was a small-scale distillation. To elucidate what happened, we prepared several samples of 2-propanol and kept them on a shelf away from direct sunlight at room temperature. … Prior to this incident, we were not aware that primary and secondary alcohols are peroxidizable. We hope this report is a reminder to the chemistry community that they are and that distillation procedures should take the hazard into account. For more information, see the 7th edition of “Bretherick’s Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards”; Chem. Health Saf. 2001, DOI: 10.1016/s1074-9098(01)00247-7; and J. Chem. Educ. 1988, DOI: 10.1021/ed065pa226. For more, go read the...

Read More