Accident: Texas Tech University Chemistry Lab Explosion
Location: Location: Lubbock, TX
Accident Occured On: 01/07/2010 | Final Report Released On: 10/19/2011
Accident Type: Reactive Incident
Investigation Status: The CSB's investigation was released via webinar on October 19, 2011.
An explosion severely injured a graduate student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, in the chemistry department during the handling of a high-energy metal compound, which suddenly detonated. Texas Tech had entered into an agreement with Northeastern University, which holds a contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to study the high-energy materials.
Develop good practice guidance that identifies and describes methodologies to assess and control hazards that can be used successfully in a research laboratory.
Broadly and explicitly communicate to the target audience of research laboratories the findings and recommendations of the CSB Texas Tech report focusing on the message that while the intent of 29 CFR 1910.1450 (Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standard) is to comprehensively address health hazards of chemicals, organizations also need to effectively implement programs and procedures to control physical hazards of chemicals (as defined in 1910.1450(b)). At a minimum:
Revise and expand the university chemical hygiene plan (CHP) to ensure that physical safety hazards are addressed and controlled, and develop a verification program that ensures that the safety provisions of the CHP are communicated, followed, and enforced at all levels within the university.
Develop and implement an incident and near-miss reporting system that can be used as an educational resource for researchers, a basis for continuous safety system improvement, and a metric for the university to assess its safety progress. Ensure that the reporting system has a single point of authority with the responsibility of ensuring that remedial actions are implemented in a timely manner.