“Safety Begins in the Classroom” videos now available from #ACSSanDiego
May19

“Safety Begins in the Classroom” videos now available from #ACSSanDiego

ACS has now posted videos from the National Meeting held in March in San Diego, including those from the Division of Chemical Health & Safety’s session on “Safety Begins in the Classroom: Demonstrations, Awareness & Pre-Lab Planning”: “Wild, wild west to GHS: Reflections on my first year as a general chemistry laboratory coordinator,” by Rebecca Sansom & Matthew B. Allen of Brigham Young University “Chemical demonstrations: The good, the bad, the ugly,” by David A. Katz, self-described “chemist, educator, expert demonstrator, science communicator, and consultant” “Development of demonstrations – a collaborative project between the safety office and teaching assistants,” by Debbie Decker & Joshua Greenfield of the University of California, Davis The division already posted slides from this and other sessions at the...

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Videos on nitric acid waste and vented caps
May18

Videos on nitric acid waste and vented caps

Northwestern University’s Office for Research Safety has two new videos available: One is about nitric acid and what happens when it’s mixed with organic materials, and the other is about using vented caps. embedded by Embedded Videovimeo Direktw=640 h=360 Nitric Acid Waste from ORS Safety Training on Vimeo. embedded by Embedded Videovimeo Direktw=640 h=360 Vented Caps from ORS Safety Training on Vimeo. My spreadsheet of safety videos is available here. As always, please let me know if I should add...

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“They suffer, confused and unsafe”
Jun10

“They suffer, confused and unsafe”

The University of Minnesota College of Science & Engineering’s Joint Safety Team just wrapped up a safety video competition. The winning entry was inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s SPCA commercial, created by chemistry department chair William Tolman‘s group and filmed by his son. Tolman’s group won $50 that he thinks they’ll spend on refreshments. Sadly, the other entries aren’t publicly available. Here’s my running list of lab safety videos, including several from a similar contest held last year by Minnesota’s department of chemical engineering and materials...

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Lesson learned video: An acid spill without a lab coat
Nov12

Lesson learned video: An acid spill without a lab coat

From Northwestern University and a chemistry graduate student who suffered a chemical burn from a triflic acid spill: “I probably would not have thought to go to the hallway right away, if someone wasn’t there to point me in the direction. I probably would have run around the lab trying to remember where the shower is, knowing full well that there wasn’t one in there.” “It was a freak accident in terms of it shouldn’t have shot out at me. But if I would have been wearing my lab coat, probably almost 99% chance it would have never contacted my skin, just would’ve had to get the lab coat off really quickly.” “I remember in undergrad, it was a huge thing: Always wear your lab coat, that’s what I was taught. It was definitely something I was taught here as well during training and all that. It’s what I started doing. But as time went on and I looked at different people in lab and other labs, there’s actually a number of people who don’t wear their lab coats, actually a much greater number than I was ever expecting, which is not something I was used to at all. So at times, especially during the summer when it got really hot, there was times when I knew what I was doing so I just wouldn’t put it on. I sweat very easily and that just made it worse. It’s just one of the things. Especially at the end of the day, I just didn’t think to use my lab coat and I thought I’d be really quick. But clearly no matter what I’m doing in the lab I should’ve been wearing it, as everyone should.” Looking for other videos? Here’s the...

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Preparing piranha
Oct02

Preparing piranha

Piranha solutions are used to remove organic residues from substrates. Typically a 3:1 mixture of concentrated sulfuric acid to 30% hydrogen peroxide, it is highly corrosive and a powerful oxidizer. Simply mixing the solution is dangerous. And mixing piranha begs the question raises the question: Add the acid to the peroxide, or the other way around? Everyone hopefully learned in chemistry labs to “never cover an acid”–that is, when diluting, always add acid to water, not the other way around. For piranha, however, best practice is to add the peroxide to the acid. Robin Izzo, director of environmental health and safety at Princeton University, said this in an email to the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety e-mail list earlier this month: Around 20 years ago, I worked with two chemistry professors to develop best practices for handling piranha solutions. We tested different methods and found that (1) more often the mixture bubbled vigorously and created heat when adding the acid to the peroxide and (2) peroxide concentrations greater than 60% usually reacted violently, under 30% did not react violently and between 30 and 55% sometimes reacted violently. That was the reasoning behind keeping concentrations under 30% and not to exceed 50%. For reference, here is Princeton’s current guidance for making piranha. The University of Cambridge’s directions include a story of what can happen if you’re not careful when using piranha solutions. And the University of California, San Diego’s “A Day in the Lab” has a brief scene about making and using piranha solutions, starting at...

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Lessons learned videos from Cornell on PPE and transporting chemicals
Aug06

Lessons learned videos from Cornell on PPE and transporting chemicals

Cornell University has two new videos out, one on personal protective equipment in biological labs and the other on transporting chemicals through public areas, both based on incidents on campus. Take a look: As always, please let me know if you have something I can add to the videos...

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