Thursday, January 26, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, July 7, 2016
Report on UH lab explosion reveals deep, systemic safety failures
By Selected News Articles @ 5:38 PM :: 3439 Views :: Higher Education

Report on UH lab explosion reveals deep, systemic safety failures

by Beryl Lieff Benderly, ScienceMag.org, July 7, 2016 (excerpt)

The 16 March explosion at the University of Hawaii (UH), Manoa, that maimed postdoc Thea Ekins-Coward resulted from a static electricity charge that ignited a tank containing a highly flammable, pressurized mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, finds an investigation by the University of California Center for Laboratory Safety (UCCLS). This conclusion contrasts with that of a previous investigation by the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD), which blamed the tank’s ignition on sparking caused by an inappropriate pressure gauge.

Issued late in the afternoon in Honolulu on 1 July, the UCCLS report consists of two parts, a 73-page technical analysis of the incident and a 38-page set of recommendations for changes needed to overcome systemic failures in the lab and university’s approach to safety. We will be commenting on the report at greater length soon, but here is the lowdown for now.

The main conclusion is that the tank was not grounded, and the digital pressure gauge “acted as a path to ground for a static charge that ignited the hydrogen/oxygen gas mixture contained within a 13 gallon (50 liter) pressure tank,” the UCCLS technical report states. Ignition most likely happened “when the statically charged researcher touched the metal housing of the gauge and a charge transfer occurred.”

The contrasting conclusions of the two investigations indicate differences in their intent and extent rather than any essential disagreement about the factors that led to the explosion. The fire department’s investigators aimed to determine the source of the explosion, whether it posed any further danger, and whether it was intentionally caused. The UCCLS investigation, on the other hand, sought to pinpoint the exact cause of the explosion through extensive forensic analysis and laboratory studies of equipment identical to that involved in the explosion….

Fundamental to the lapses that led to the explosion, the recommendations section of the report finds, were “serious deficiencies in the institution’s approach to laboratory safety, [especially the] lack of a culture of safety.” The report found that the institution had in place “insufficient training in hazard recognition and risk mitigation, … a deficient laboratory inspection program, a dated and ineffective chemical hygiene plan, … inadequate standard operating procedures[,]” and no formal risk assessment protocols for experiments with highly hazardous materials….

read … Systemic Safety Failures

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT