News

June 30, 2008

July 31, 2007

What Happened?

On April 11, 2007, an employee of Campus Recycling and Refuse Services was alarmed when a suspected compressed gas cylinder ruptured in the rear hopper of a garbage truck. The employee was standing at the rear of the truck and had activated the blade that sweeps the garbage from the hopper into the body of the truck for further compaction. The pressurized gas cylinder was believed to be concealed inside a plastic trash bag. The sweeping action of the blade ruptured the cylinder and the residual contents sprayed into the employee’s face.

What Happened?

A postdoctoral researcher was reaching into a New Brunswick Scientific Model G-25R Shaker Table Incubator to clean up a spill when her right hand got caught in the spinning exhaust fan blade.  She lacerated her middle finger and lost part of the fingernail.  She was treated in a local hospital emergency room.

April 30, 2007

March 31, 2007

What Happened?

In February 2007, a University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researcher was loading a gas cylinder on a two-cylinder cart when the previously loaded cylinder fell and crushed his toes.

December 31, 2006

What Happened?

A veteran forklift operator with 20 years of experience started his day just as he had often done, then soon realized just how fast things can change. Due to an oversized load, the operator was transporting a dumpster bin on the forks of his forklift while he was traveling in reverse. While in reverse, he hit a curb, causing the forklift to roll over onto its side.

The stunned operator was transported by ambulance to the hospital emergency room, where he was treated for a fractured leg. 

November 30, 2006

September 30, 2005

What Happened?

It is believed that a Cole Parmer Polystat 12002 immersion heater in a University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) microbiology laboratory did not shut off as the water level in the plastic bath dropped, allowing the temperature to rise to the point that the bath material ignited. The fire caused extensive damage to the building and shut down research for several months.

July 31, 2005

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.

May 31, 2005

What Happened?

A campus employee working in an electronics shop was repairing a power supply unit. The cooling fan had not been working properly, causing the unit to overheat. The employee replaced the defective cooling fan and then reached into the open top of the power supply unit to check the airflow from the replacement fan. The employee either made contact with a charged capacitor or was close enough (within 1/4") to allow electricity to arc to his hand causing an electric shock that entered his left hand and exited through his right hand.

September 30, 2004

What Happened?

A UC Berkeley researcher was preparing a sample for microscopy. After he had cleaned the sample with isopropanol, he poured the extra isopropanol into a container for unwanted chemicals labeled “isopropanol.” There was an immediate chemical reaction that caused the plastic container to rupture and spray the mixture around the area. He was later surprised to learn that the container actually held concentrated nitric acid in the form of spent copper etchant.

March 31, 2004

What Happened?

A university employee was changing ballasts above a drop ceiling in a department reception area. The employee received an electrical shock from a 277volt circuit and was knocked off a step stool that she had placed on top of the reception desk. She fell from a height of 46.5 inches, but received only minor injuries and returned to work the following day.

July 31, 2003

In April 2003, the Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Committee (NIRSC) informed the laser research community that a serious laser eye injury had occurred on the UC Berkeley campus. The campus Laboratory Safety Officer (LSO) performed an investigation of the incident. The following information and lessons learned are based on the LSO’s investigation of the incident.

October 31, 2002

What Happened?

Someone was using the vice pictured below to hold an item in the process of a normal workday. In the process of performing a task, the vice toppled off the surface onto the person's foot causing a serious injury. The person was not wearing steel-toed boots.

September 30, 2002

What Happened?

A can of epoxy hardener was included in a salvage cart (see photo) and spilled at some point in the process of moving the salvage cart. An employee came in contact with the spilled material and was instructed to immediately wash with soap and water. EH&S then cleaned up the spill (see photos).

Lessons Learned

Please remind your staff of proper disposal methods for hazardous materials.

November 30, 2000

Don't lose your thumb! Paper cutters such as the one here are not safe or legal. Cal/OSHA has cited campus departments for allowing unguarded paper cutters in the workplace in prior years.

a hand on a paper cutter with no finger guard

Lessons Learned

Please be sure all paper cutters in your department have a guard like the one seen here.