Lessons Learned

Reports on incidents that involve injury, exposure (real or potential), or significant damage property. Lessons Learned detail what happened and how similar incidents can be avoided in the future.

Improper Labeling Causes Injury from Acid Spray

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.

Workplace Safety

California state regulations require every employer to establish, implement and maintain an effective injury prevention program. In August 2017, the University adopted a campuswide Workplace Safety Program that serves as the university’s central program for creating a safe and healthful work environment. Having one program for the whole university helps to improve access, consistency, and usability across all departments. EH&S is the responsible department for overseeing the campuswide Workplace Safety Program.

Biological Safety

Providing support, in the form of risk assessment, review, consultation and training, for research at UC Berkeley that involves the use of recombinant DNA, biohazardous materials and biological toxins.

Resources and Guides

Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

A JSA describes job tasks in step-by-step fashion, identifies associated hazards at each step, and outlines proper hazard controls that minimize the risk of injury or illness to the individual(s) performing that task. 

Employee's Toes Crushed by Falling Compressed Gas Cylinder

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.

Brandon DeFrancisci

Associate Director, Health & Safety
Health & Safety
Lab Safety

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) Library

Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

A JSA describes job tasks in step-by-step fashion, identifies associated hazards at each step, and outlines proper hazard controls that minimize the risk of injury or illness to the individual(s) performing that task.

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheets

EH&S Fact Sheets serve as campus-wide Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Chemical Explosion Causes Eye Injury

May 31, 2015

ANSI-approved safety glasses—and other personal protective equipment specified in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)—are essential whenever working with hazardous materials. SOPs also indicate other precautions that must be followed to ensure safety, such as performing work with energetic or explosive materials behind a fume hood sash or blast shield. 

Eye Exposure to Specular and Diffuse Reflections

October 17, 2016

What happened?

A student conducting a physics experiment was briefly exposed to specular and diffuse reflections from a continuous wave 975 nm invisible laser beam while not wearing laser eye protection. The student was applying oil to an objective lens with a glass stick when it was noted that the laser was still on. The student was immediately referred to the optometry clinic and was promptly examined. No eye damage was found.