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A tale of two explosions | Science | AAAS

The report on the explosion explained the factors that contributed to the catastrophe in illuminating detail. It described deficiencies, including lack of clear procedures for carrying out experiments and of hazard analysis before beginning work, and analyzed what had gone wrong at the lab bench and at many levels of the university as a whole, from inadequate oral communication between the grad student and the principal investigator to deficient training and administrative organization.

The research group had experienced other dangerous incidents but had repeatedly failed to learn from them because it had not effectively communicated the lessons that emerged either within the lab or with the larger community. Beyond this, the grad student scaled up a reaction despite a lab policy—which he was not adequately aware of—to make only small quantities of the potentially explosive material he was working on, used improper technique to handle it, and failed to wear protective goggles.

The report on the recent incident, which an undergraduate student apparently brought on by skipping a step while carrying out a reaction and using a metal tool rather than a safer plastic one, illustrates notable improvement. By Adriana L.

Romero-Olivares Oct. By Beryl Lieff Benderly Sep.

Chemistry Experiment - Mr. Bean Official

By Elisabeth Pain Apr. CSB cited a lack of organizational accountability and safety oversight at the university. The case study lists lessons for universities, such as ensuring research hazards are evaluated and controlled by developing written protocols and training.

Additionally, CSB urged OSHA to issue a safety bulletin on controlling physical hazards of chemicals in academic labs, and recommended that Texas Tech revise its Chemical Hygiene Plan, develop an incident and near-miss reporting system, and share lessons learned from all lab incidents and near misses. CSB also released a video depicting three serious school lab incidents.

Texas Tech University

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