Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 14:39:25 -0400
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: UCLA follow-up: The value of sharing "lessons learned"

This report is from another e-mail list I'm involved in, but I think  
that it's important for DCHAS-L members to be aware of as well.

- Ralph

From: 	wayne.wood**At_Symbol_Here**MCGILL.CA
Subject: 	Re: [SAFETY] Sheri Sangji's death at UCLA
Date: 	May 8, 2009 10:48:43 AM EDT (CA)

I know too little about this particular incident to pass any judgement  
on the root causes, but we did have a similar experience recently  
where a researcher was hit by a fireball from a sudden explosion of a  
reaction vessel.  The researcher had some nasty burns to his neck and  
face but came out of it in reasonable shape largely because he was  
wearing a lab coat and safety glasses. Witnesses stated that they saw  
him briefly enveloped in flames but he quickly removed his coat to get  
rid of all the flames except some in his hair - which his lab mates  
patted out... He was hospitalized for 4 days and was off work for 6  
weeks but thankfully he is still with us today.

Just 1 month prior we had conducted our annual lab inspections in the  
department and just 2 weeks prior I circulated the story about the  
UCLA incident to the department as well.  When I did a debriefing with  
the department safety officer after the accident, he indicated he felt  
that our inspections and awareness efforts are making a difference and  
may be a reason the individual was wearing protective equipment.  
Compliance with PPE has steadily improved in the area and it is  
entirely possible our efforts may have saved a life...

This incident highlights some of the most basic lab safety elements  
like training and PPE.  The work of EHS may appear annoying to some  
but I believe it does indeed make a difference. Keep up the efforts  
because none of us would ever want to live through the loss of such a  
precious individual like Sheri Sangji.  My heart goes out to all who  
were touched by her loss.

Wayne Wood
McGill University

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