Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 08:14:57 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Klotz, Ann" <KLOTZ**At_Symbol_Here**SIENA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Cryogenics face shield?
In-Reply-To: <42E73D6D-23EA-4B7B-B1B1-C8526A04493B**At_Symbol_Here**>

I've been filling an NMR with LN2 for over 10 years.  This fall, for the fi
rst time ever, I was splashed with LN2.on my face.    It happened at the co
mpletion of the fill.   Nitrogen came from the fill port spraying 6-8 inche
s into the air.   The splash was very small, but resulted in some minor col
d burns on my face.   After a little investigation, I've concluded the the 
dewar was over pressurized.

I used to use just safety glasses.
Since then, I always wear a face shield and safety glasses.
Ann Klotz
School of Science
Siena College
515 Loudon Road
Loudonville, NY 12211-1462

Office Phone: 518-783-2402
Cell Phone 518-860-8489
Siena College is a learning community advancing the ideals of a liberal art
s education, rooted in its identity as a Franciscan and Catholic institutio

From: ILPI 
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List 
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 16:05:14 -0500
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Cryogenics face shield?

This is another one of those topics that telegraphs the safety disconnect b
etween academia and industry.

I have 15 years of experience using liquid nitrogen at four major research 
institutions (on a daily basis for many of those) and I don't recall anyone
 *ever* using a face shield when working with liquid nitrogen, and that inc
ludes filling 200 liter dewars from the larger building supply dewar and th
e NMR lab techs who do the routine N2/He fills.  At *best* safety glasses w
ere used, and I can distinctly recall seeing folks doing Dewar fills withou
t any eye protection - after all, they weren't in the lab anymore, they wer
e down by the loading dock or in a basement somewhere for the big fills, an
d safety glasses are only required in labs, right?

Of course, in those 15 years I never saw or heard of an incident involving 
liquid nitrogen that required any sort of first aid treatment.  I did see a
 second degree frostbite burn on someone who carried a block of dry ice wit
hout gloves, personally found out that sticking my head way down into the d
ry ice chest to get the last block is not a good idea, and saw (as you all 
know) plenty of fires and explosions, but no issues with liquid N2.

Now, I'm not saying that liquid N2 is harmless and that you don't need face
 shields or other protection (insulating gloves, even ear plugs for Dewar t
ransfers).  Although one could probably argue face shields are overkill, th
at's not the point of my comment.

The point is that the academic research community is often blind to best pr
actices.  The safety culture of academia is undermined by the transient nat
ure of the staff (grad students showing new grad students how they learned 
to do things "safely").  We saw that with the UCLA tragedy and I can all bu
t guarantee that there are still labs that use improper transfer techniques
 for pyrophorics because that's the way they've always been done in those l
abs.  How do we unlearn bad habits that come about through inertia or overs
ight?  How do academics prepare students for a job in industry when they've
 never held industrial jobs themselves?

It's almost like we (i.e. industry, academia, chemists, biologists, safety 
admins etc.) need a peer-reviewed and maintained "Wikipedia of Research Saf
ety" that researchers everywhere could *easily* turn to as a gold standard 
of sorts.   Want to know the safe way of doing a particular procedure or th
e dangers or a particular chemical?  Go there.  Want to know how formalin i
s handled at other institutions?  Go there and find a concise listing.  For
get random web searches, we need one central location with definitive answe

I'd say that the DCHAS community's response to the UCLA incident was an exc
ellent first step in that direction.  And there are many other individual r
esources out there that could be linked to for further information.    I wo
nder if something like I describe would be fundable through ACS/NSF/NIH etc
.?   Would there be a support for a Safety Initiative that could underlie t
he thousands of individual efforts made by colleges, universities, and busi
nesses alike?  Something that would not just make safety compliance easier 
but better?   I guess that's all a whole new thread....

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

A lab tech writes:
Do you have a recommendation for an appropriate face shield that people
should be using when working with LN2? I've been searching the web and it's
hard to find a specific recommendation for a face shield to be worn with
cryogenics. I don't see any guidelines on OSHA that point to any
particulars and nothing on the Cryogenic Society of America's site either.
I would appreciate your assistance.

Does anyone have any favorites they'd like to recommend?

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH
Environmental Safety Manager
University of Vermont
Environmental Safety Facility
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405

fax: (802)656-5407

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