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.

Pressurized Dewar Cap is Blown Off and Causes Minor Injury

February 28, 2009

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.

Ladder Fall Results in $19,125 Fine and Serious Injury

August 31, 2009

In 2008 and 2009 UC Berkeley experienced two serious injuries resulting from falls from ladders.

Severe Finger Injury from Wedding Ring

July 31, 2013

What happened?

An employee was working in the bed of a large pickup truck. The truck was equipped with a Tommy Gate lift and hinged gate doors that opened outward. The employee was attempting to get down from the truck, so he placed his left hand on the door hinge and jumped down. His wedding ring caught on the grease fitting and caused an avulsion* injury of the finger, also referred to as “degloving.”

Ethanol Fire Burns Researcher

July 31, 2011

What Happened?

Lab Fire Caused By Hotplate Heating Oil Bath That Injured Researcher

March 31, 2013

What Happened?

A chemistry researcher was using an older model hot plate to heat an oil bath to 120-150°F. He borrowed the hotplate from someone else and was not familiar with the temperature controls. On this particular hot plate the temperature dial could go around from “LO” to “OFF” and back to “HI” heat. The researcher thought he had turned the hotplate “OFF” but it was still in the “ON” position and 30 minutes later the mineral oil bath ignited.

Accidental Mixing of Bleach and Acid

October 31, 2009

What Happened?

Eye Exposure to Specular Reflection

July 31, 2015

What happened?

Corrosive Waste Spill

August 31, 2015

What Happened?

A UC Berkeley researcher was working in a lab with a highly corrosive sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide (piranha) solution to clean the surface of a glass sample in a fume hood.

Exploding Cylinder in Garbage

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.