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Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Pyrophoric Chemicals
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Pyrophoric Chemicals

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Overview of the hazards of pyrophoric chemicals and recent events in followup to the UCLA tragedy

Overview of the hazards of pyrophoric chemicals and recent events in followup to the UCLA tragedy

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  • 1. Pyrophoric and air/water sensitive chemical hazards
    Neal Langerman
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    San Diego, CA
  • 2. NATURE OF PROBLEM
    Safely handling highly reactive chemicals in a dynamic, competitive research environment
    (Apparent) increased use of pyrophoric and reactive chemicals in synthetic chemistry research
    Increased awareness of chemical safety at the institutional level
    Increased information sharing about incidents
    No method to determine if incidents (number or severity) has changed over time
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • 3. Page 3
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
    Silane release
    Cylinder in a gas cabinet
    Apparatus in open lab area
    Student adjusting apparatus initiated release
    Minor injuries
    Loss of lab
  • 4. Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
    Thermal reflux/distillation
    Sodium metal
    THF
    Student adjusted jammed overhead stirrer while system was hot
    Round-bottom cracked, releasing contents into hood
    Student burned
    Lab destroyed
    Building closed to 7 days
    4 EH&S “terminated” over next months
  • 5. Air/Water/Pyrophoric ChemicalsC&EN 22 Jan 2009
    Researcher Dies After Lab Fire
    UCLA research assistant burned in incident with tert-butyl lithium
    Pyrophoric liquid
    Working alone during shutdown
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 5
  • 6. Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicalstert-Butyl Lithium
    A 23 year old female research associate/laboratory technician intended to add an (unknown) aliquot of 1.6 M t-Bu-Li (in pentane) to a round bottom flask, placed in a dry ice/acetone bath.
    She had been employed in the lab for about 3 months.
    Limited experience with pyrophors
    Attempted to transfer 160 mL with successive aliqouts in a 50 mL plastic syringe
    Somehow, the syringe plunger popped out or was pulled out of the syringe barrel, splashing the employee with t-Bu-Li and pentane.
    Ignited 4 L bottle of hexane in hood
    The mixture caught fire, upon contact with air.
    She was wearing Nitrile gloves, safety glasses and synthetic sweater. She was not wearing a lab coat.
    The fire ignited the gloves and the sweater.
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 6
  • 7. Air/Water/Pyrophoric ChemicalsMost authoritative report
    Jyllian Kemsley, Ph.D., C&EN Reporter
    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8731sci1.html
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 7
  • 8. UCLA Update
    12 March 2010
    CAL/OSHA cites campus for failure to report 2007 injury to TA (employee)/Grad Student in Chemistry & Biochemistry
    CAL/OSHA cites campus for ongoing violations following the 2009 fatality
    Campus announces its intention to contest the citations
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
    Reactive Safety
  • 9. UCLA Update 17 March 2010
    2007 Lab Fire
    Biochem grad student seriously burned when alcohol spill ignited by Bunsen burner
    7 days in hospital
    Student was paid UCLA employee
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 9
  • 10. UCLA Update 17 March 2010
    Citations
    Failure to report injury
    Failure to correct unsafe working conditions
    Flammable liquid and open flame
    Inadequate PPE
    No lab coat, insufficient clothing
    Proposed fine: $29,300
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 10
  • 11. UCLA Update 17 March 2010
    Follow-up inspection of Chemistry & Biochemistry
    Prompted by complaints from (unionized) university employees
    UCLA plans to contest both sets of citations
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 11
  • 12. UCLA Update 17 March 2010
    Chemical Reactivity Hazards
    Page 12
  • 13. During the past ten days:
    UCSD terminated the campus CHO
    Allegedly due to budget constraints
    The UCSD Director of EHS resigned on very short notice
    Reportedly is taking a position at Ann Arbor
    Money is “found” to re-hire the CHO
    No relationship to UCLA has been established
    UCSD Update
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    Solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Topic (from title page)
  • 14. Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    Solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Common sense is not common
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
    The incident
    Sodium was used in an organic synthesis reaction
    Knife used to cut Sodium was rinsed in a regular sink with Methanol
    Piece of Sodium hit water in sink, igniting the Methanol
    Fire spread to 20 liter poly bottle of Acetone on shelf above sink
    Bottle burst
  • 15. Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    Solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Common sense is not common
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
    The incident, continued
    A burning pool of acetone spread over lab
    Excess quantities of solvents ignited
    Two labs totaled
    Major flooding & smoke damage
    $750,000 property loss
    No injuries
    Same incident occurred 10 years later at another major research center
  • 16. MANY CAUSES:SOME COMMON THEMES
    Insufficient training/Insufficient supervision
    Intense time/productivity pressure
    Safety institutionalized/Safety not functional at the lab level
    Academic culture rewards productivity with no attention to safety
    Safety must be given the same priority in academic culture given to publications and funding
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • 17. What must be done?
    EHS –
    Shift responsibility for safety to PI’s
    Make it very clear that EH&S are consultants, not the “Safety Cops”
    Change the culture by shifting responsibility
    Get Provost-level support
    CAMPUS
    Include “safety performance” in PI evaluation
    Teaching
    Grants & Funding
    Lab Space
    Tenure
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • 18. What must be done?
    National
    Give CSB Funding/Authority to investigate laboratory-scale incidents
    Place “Safety Performance” at an equal level of importance as research performance
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • 19. What must be done?
    The Chemical Safety Community
    Define “Safety Performance”
    Lead rather than push
    And before ending …
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • 20. Questions - Comments
    Reactive Safety
    Advanced Chemical Safety
    www.chemical-safety.com
    solutions@chemical-safety.com
    Air/Water/Pyrophoric Chemicals

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