If you are like me you are intrigued by the DCHAS Chemical Safety Headlines, but frustrated by the lack of detail. So here is the information I have and Lessons Learned from yesterday's event at UCLA.
There was a small explosion in the Protein Expression Technology Center on the first floor of Boyer Hall at UCLA. Someone was likely trying to save the acetone from a dry ice / acetone cooling bath and poured it into a 1 L glass bottle. Unfortunately the bottle was then capped. When the bottle burst from the CO2 pressure soon after, another person sustained minor cut injuries to a hand and possibly forehead. Fortunately the bottle was in a hood which contained much of the dispersed solvent and glass fragments. Also fortunately, there was no fire.
Lessons Learned: Do not pour the working fluid, typically acetone or isopropanol, from a dry ice cooling bath into a bottle until it has warmed back to room temperature due to the hazard of carbon dioxide gas pressurization.
Lessons Learned: A core facility, in this case for expression and purification of proteins, with many users from across an institution faces extra lab safety challenges because of the broad user base. The facility must have clear procedures and protocols in place to ensure the safety of users. This is particularly true when users manipulate chemicals, as opposed to just using instruments to analyze materials samples.
Interesting coincidence: This event occurred during a faculty meeting for the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry where I was speaking about laboratory safety!
Professor of Chemistry
UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
UC Center for Laboratory Safety
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
LAFD REPORTS NOW-CLEARED CHEMICAL EXPLOSION AT BOYER HALL, 1 MINOR INJURY
Tags: us_CA, laboratory, explosion, injury, acetone
A chemical explosion in a South Campus laboratory that injured a UCLA employee was reported by the Los Angeles Fire Department this afternoon.
LAFD reported an acetone explosion in a laboratory fume hood in Boyer Hall at 2:18 p.m. Ricardo Vazquez, a UCLA spokesperson, said a chemical spill was prevented because the incident occurred under a fume hood.
One employee suffered superficial burn injuries to his hand and has been treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck.
Beck added that UCPD and LAFD cleared the incident this afternoon, and UCLA Environmental Health and Safety is now cleaning up the area.
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