From: Carmen Nitsche <cnitsche**At_Symbol_Here**SWBELL.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Horror stories
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:20:06 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Message-ID: 723905333.1539724.1603210806652**At_Symbol_Here**

This seems a good time to remind everyone of the wonderful NOTVOODOO resource Alison Frontier (University of Rochester) has put together. There are several safety related pages - including the Rookie Mistakes section

And she also encourages community tracking of incidents - such as fires and explosions caused by pyrophoric agents - to highlight high risk/oft repeated incidents.

I am excited that she is planning on adding top reaction incidents from the Chemical Safety Library (CSL), with a similar page.

Speaking of the CSL, did you see the announcement about the next phase of the Chemical Safety Library? Pistoia Alliance and CAS have teamed up to offer a new platform for this community crowdsourced safety database of laboratory reaction incidents.  Check it out and please consider contributing for the safety of all!!!

Warm regards,  --Carmen

Carmen Nitsche

On Monday, October 19, 2020, 01:41:49 PM EDT, Daniel C Herrick <herrickd**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

How about the postdoc who was unpacking boxes and dropped the bottle of hydroiodic acid on the floor.  It broke, and since he was wearing sandals with socks (seriously?), the HI got on his foot.  He then ran down the hall to the men's room to rinse rather than use the safety shower in lab, because in that building the safety showers don't have drains and he didn't want to get water all over the lab.  This of course changed a "minor" incident into a "major" one.

The researcher was ok, but the floor in the lab has never recovered - it is permanently stained.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daniel C. Herrick, CIH
Senior EHS Coordinator
Mechanical Engineering Department (MechE)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
77 Massachusetts Avenue, room 3-449g
Cambridge, MA 02139
Email    herrickd**At_Symbol_Here**
Phone  617-253-2338 (MIT: x3-2338)

-----Original Message-----
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU> On Behalf Of davivid
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2020 10:08 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Horror stories

This thread about nitric acid distillation got me thinking.

One thing that I think would be useful, educational, and entertaining is a collection of laboratory "Horror Stories". I'm sure every experienced chemist has a few. These could be a means of motivating and educating the public as well as other chemists. Think of these as chemistry "morality tales". No obtuse jargon, no lengthy analysis. Just some good old fashioned story telling. Youtube channel anyone?

A couple of my favorites

A low boiling solvent condensed in a liquid nitrogen cooled trap. When the dewar was removed the twisted vacuum tubing flipped the trap upside down sending the cold solvent into the rotary vacuum pump that had been running overnight. The overpressure created by flash boiling when the solvent hit the hot oil split the pump casing at the casting seam.

Another one

There was an attempt to grind a material in a ball mill. Unfortunately the material was too soft. So the researcher added liquid nitrogen, sealed up the heavy ceramic ball mill and proceeded to grind as usual.
Fortunately they mentioned their cleverness to a supervisor who promptly had everyone get to safety before the inevitable explosion.

Dave Lane
Clavis Technology Development

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