From: Laurence Doemeny <ldoemeny**At_Symbol_Here**COX.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Colorado methanol fire case
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:32:51 -0700
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 009001cff203$a729c570$f57d5050$**At_Symbol_Here**net
In-Reply-To <75G81p00X1tyVfQ015GAdX>

First, let me explain that I have no knowledge of
the course requirements for becoming a school
chemistry teacher. From the discussion I image
that it may not be a degree in chemistry but even
if the qualifications for chemistry teacher
includes a degree in chemistry just how much of
that instruction prepares the teacher for
conducting demonstrations and do the required
courses for school teachers include safety issues.
Now with that said let me add:

When investigating mishaps such as this we look
for the root cause of the incident. In past cases
it was learned that one incident involved the
further addition of methanol to a demonstration
resulting is a serious flair up and spilling a
large amount of methanol. Was this really the
root cause? Most will be quick to blame the
person in the line of fire or active cause, but
active causes are rarely the sole or root cause of
accidents. I suggest that that the root causes,
or latent ones, were the demonstrator's lack of
understanding due to chemical safety not being
part of the education process and that the
institution did not vet the use of chemicals or
have a safety officer conduct a hazard analysis
for the demonstration. Several of this list
server members, the ACS Division of Chemical
Health and Safety, and the Committee on Chemical
Safety continually campaigns for teaching chemical
safety in the chemistry curricula so clearly it
could be that many chemistry graduates are ill
prepared for conducting demonstrations. Now
transfer that to the curricula for science
teachers and the situation could be even less
safety training.

It appears that this teacher may be bearing the
burden for several systems that failed him. Yes,
he conducted the demonstration but the school may
have failed to review the teacher's safety
knowledge, and may have failed to review the
safety of what was occurring (active cause). .

I have been saying that the employer should
conduct due diligence for what chemicals they are
letting people use on their premises, and this
case is no different. I hope that the
investigation of this situation goes back to what
the employer and the educational institutions may
have failed to do.

Laurence Doemeny

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List
[mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of
Ralph Stuart
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2014 10:13 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Colorado methanol fire case

I was struck the story in this morning's headlines
that the Former Colorado Teacher was charged with
four counts of third-degree assault, a Class 1
misdemeanor in the methanol demonstration lab
explosion that occurred last month.

This seems much more likely to set a precedent
than the UCLA fire, which was based on labor law
specific to California. I hope that people who are
in Colorado will let us know how this case
proceeds, as it's not uncommon for these stories
to fall off the press's radar.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart

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