Laboratory Safety Video Released by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board
The United States Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its laboratory safety video called “Experimenting with Danger.” This 24-minute video focuses on three (3) separate laboratory accidents that occurred at academic institutes. These accidents are as follows:
- The death of a laboratory research assistant in a flash fire involving tert-Butyllithium at UCLA in 2008;
- The death of a Dartmouth College professor by accidental poisoning from dimethylmercury in 1997; and
- An explosion involving nickel hydrazine perchlorate that occurred at Texas Tech University in 2010.
Laboratory Safety Improvement Recommendations
The Chemical Safety Board made the following recommendations:
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should broadly and explicitly communicate to the target audience of research laboratories the findings and recommendations of the CSB Texas Tech report focusing on the message that while the intent of 29 CFR 1910.1450 (Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standard) is to comprehensively address health hazards of chemicals, organizations also need to effectively implement programs and procedures to control physical hazards of chemicals (as defined in 1910.1450(b)).
- The American Chemical Society should develop good practice guidance that identifies and describes methodologies to assess and control hazards that can be used successfully in a research laboratory.
- That Texas Tech University should revise and expand the university chemical hygiene plan (CHP) to ensure that physical safety hazards are addressed and controlled, and develop a verification program that ensures that the safety provisions of the CHP are communicated, followed, and enforced at all levels within the university. [pullquote]Develop and implement an incident and near-miss reporting system that can be used as an educational resource for researchers, a basis for continuous safety system improvement, and a metric for the university to assess its safety progress.[/pullquote] Ensure that the reporting system has a single point of authority with the responsibility of ensuring that remedial actions are implemented in a timely manner.