Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 08:08:40 -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: Follow up on UBCO lab accident


Update: UBCO student burned by acid wasn=92t following safety rules
Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | 4:52 pm
By Joe Fries

A protective face shield sitting on a nearby shelf would have probably  

saved a UBCO student from the acid burns she suffered in a lab  
accident on Monday.

The female graduate student, who also works as a research assistant,  
was handling sulphuric acid when it inexplicably splashed onto her  
face and chest. The woman, who is in her early 20s, was released from  

hospital Tuesday after being treated for minor burns.

Another chemistry student who was eating lunch in a nearby office at  
the time of the accident told she heard what sounded like  

laughter coming from the hallway, followed by the victim shouting, =93I  

can=92t see, I can=92t see.=94 She was told by someone else that the  
victim=92s eyes were grey as a result of the burns.

But the student, who asked not to be named, said the burn victim  
violated a series of safety procedures, including not wearing safety  
glasses and working in a lab that is not equipped with the necessary  
equipment for handling chemicals, such as a fume hood and eye wash  

A university spokeswoman has confirmed as much.

=93There=92s still some questions to be asked as to why that kind of 
was being done in this lab,=94 said Bonnie Bates Gibbs, the school=92s  

director of alumni affairs and university relations.

She said UBCO officials were =93surprised=94 to learn the student was  

handling sulphuric acid in that lab, housed in the $31.5-million Fipke  

Centre that opened late last year.

What=92s more, a protective face shield, which was required under the  

circumstances, was sitting on a shelf just eight feet away from the  

Bates Gibbs said it=92s too early to say if there will be any sanctions  

against the student or any staff members as the investigation by the  
institution=92s health and safety team is still underway.

The student to whom spoke said the accident has thrown lab  

safety into sharper focus.

=93For the most part, people are disappointed this happened, because it  

could have been prevented 10 times over,=94 she said.

=93There wasn=92t one preventative measure that could have been taken,  

there were like six or seven, but just didn=92t.=94

While the school does all it can to prevent accidents, Bates Gibb  
said, the nature of what happens in the labs means trouble can happen.

=93We=92re a research-intensive institution and research does take place 
here, and we do all that we can to ensure that people are operating in  

a safe way.=94


Posted 09/08/24

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