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10/22/2014 - Update on Chemical Explosion at University of Rochester.
This occurred in the Chemistry Department. It involved a 4 liter amber colored glass bottle which was rinsed with a mixture of acetone and ethanol. The bottle was then used to collect 50% nitric acid waste. There seems to be conflicting accounts regarding how much residual solvent was left in the bottle. Apparently the procedure was to collect the rinsate in an organic waste container, then allow the contents to fully evaporate to remove any residue. It sounds like that procedure was not followed, and 100 ml of 50% nitric acid was added to the bottle which was still contaminated with acetone/ethanol rinsate. The cap was then put in place and tightened. After a few minutes, one of the students heard the bottle hissing and he approached the bottle to adjust the cap, at which point it exploded injuring him and two other students in the lab. Thankfully, none of the injuries were serious. Needless to say, the Department is rewriting their procedure to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. The use of plastic waste collection bottles for nitric acid (which has a tendency to react with just about everything) has been recommended, as well.

Brad Miller, CHMM
Manager, Environmental Compliance
Environmental Health and Safety
University of Rochester


10/18/2014 - Chemical Explosion at University of Rochester. A chemical explosion occured in a chemcial lab when three students were mixing three chemicals including hydro choleric and nitric acid.


10/2/2014 - Update on the Ebola Outbreak. Look here for an announcement containing information and resources relating to Ebola.


7/30/2014 - Update on the Explosion Injures University of Minnesota Graduate Assistant in a chemistry lab explosion. The Graduate Student reached into the fume hood with no PPE donned. See more at: The Safety Zone.


6/20/2014 - Update on the UCLA Sheri Sangji fatality case. Principal Investigator Patrick Harran has reached an agreement to pay a $10,000 fine and numerous hours of community service. Read more here.


6/19/2014 - Explosion Injures University of Minnesota Graduate Assistant in a chemistry lab explosion. The Graduate Student was working in a fume hood on an experiment when an explosion occured sending him to the hospital and into surgery. See more at: The Safety Zone.
The fumehood after the explosion.  Credit: University of Minnesota


2/17/2014 - Yoke Snaphooks Recall: Particular Fall Protection Yoke Snaphook manufactured by MSA potentially lacks a critical rivet. If you use MSA Yoke Snaphooks, please contact our office (994-1675). Information may be found at: Yoke Recall Website.
Snaphook image


12/15/2013 - Stopping the Rainbow Demonstrations: Rainbow demonstrations with flammable solventshave numerous risks, and the Amercian Chemical Society announces its release to end the demonstrations and injuries. Read more here. Additionally, another incident occurred in the New York City School District with the same experiment.


11/20/2013 - SRM Winter Advisory: Safety and Risk Management releases an annual winter advisory for the upcoming season. See the advisory here.


11/19/2013 - Viking Refrigerator Recall: Product potentially catches fire. See more information on the CPSC website.