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My recent training in How to Be a More Effective Chemical Hygiene Officer with Russ Phifer emphasized that accidents don’t just “happen.” Every “accident” is always preceded by some set of preventable events. We were reminded that in monitoring our work for safety, it is valuable to document “near accidents.”
Whatever occurred at SIU to cause the fire, it could have (and should have) been prevented. Hopefully one of the lessons the university learns is that fire in a chemistry lab is a risk but not an acceptable one. Fortunately, the $1 million price tag does not include the cost incurred from loss of life.
Edward J. McGrath
Red Clay Consolidated
office: (302) 552-3768
Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**list.uvm.edu] On
Behalf Of Secretary ACS DCHAS
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 10:45 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] US_IL: CHEMICAL FIRE WILL COST SIU $1M
From: "Reinhardt, Peter" <peter.reinhardt**At_Symbol_Here**yale.edu>
Date: June 10, 2010 10:40:25 AM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] US_IL: CHEMICAL FIRE WILL COST SIU $1M
I must agree with Dan. Looking for someone to blame is unproductive, but implying that this is an acceptable risk is disgusting. Thankfully, there were no injuries or loss of life. The costs below do not include loss of research, loss of research material, loss of data on hard disks down the hall due to soot, interruption to teaching, research and other activities in that building, relocation of occupants during recovery and rebuilding, etc.
Higher education has spent the last decade putting sprinklers in all residence halls. Now we need to do the same for laboratories. (This was an unsprinklered lab.) It would be interesting to survey colleges and universities to see what % of labs are sprinklered.
Peter A. Reinhardt
Director, Office of Environmental Health & Safety
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