Lessons Learned

Lesson Learned - Superconducting Magnet Explosion

What happened?

A 9.4 Tesla super conducting magnet, used for mass spectroscopy in a campus laboratory recently suffered a catastrophic failure. The incident was apparently caused by over pressurization and failure of the liquid helium (LHe) chamber. Although there were no injuries because the incident occurred during off-hours, the potential for significant injury due the venting of LHe into the facility was present. There was also significant damage to equipment associated with the magnet.

Lesson Learned - Pressurized Dewar Cap is Blown Off and Causes Minor Injury

What happened?

In July 2008, a guest scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory sustained a minor injury when the cap of a 50-Liter liquid nitrogen Dewar burst off and hit his forehead. The scientist needed to fill the Dewar - which hadn't been used for several months - and assumed it was depressurized because of its lack of use.

Lesson Learned - Needlestick from Regular Trash

What happened?
An employee in Campus Recycling & Refuse Services was stuck by a needle while emptying trash bags from a dumpster behind Wellman Hall. The incident happened early in the morning, and the employee sought immediate off-site medical care. A physician dispensed antiretrovirals for a possible Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) exposure, and the employee was very concerned that he might have been infected with a life-threatening disease.

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