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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170892426 - Chemist Burned In Chemical Explosion/Fire

Accident: 170892426 -- Report ID: 0950632 -- Event Date: 04/15/1995
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12000090604/17/19958733Scripps Research Institute
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on April 15, 1995, Employee #1, a chemist, was working in a research laboratory with lithium aluminum hydride and other chemicals under a laboratory hood. Lithium aluminum hydride is a pyrophoric compound and is especially hazardous due to its extremely flammable/explosive properties. After some preliminary trial runs, Employee #1 scaled up the quantity of reagents, including lithium aluminum hydride, in the chemical reaction under study, but he did not use shielding or appropriate protective clothing. For some reason, he lost control of the reaction and an explosion/fire resulted. Employee #1 was struck by glass from the shattered reaction vessel and was thrown back by the force of the explosion. His flammable clothing caught fire and was eventually extinguished by his lab partner, but not before he sustained burns over 25 percent of his body. Employee #1 required hospitalization.
Keywords: burn, broken glass, ppe, work rules, fire, explosion, chemical reaction, process safety, testing lab, lost control
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 120000906 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Chemists, except biochemists

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