Incident at university research facility - melt down of gas chromatograph evaporation block and failure of a passive safety barrier.

Niels Jensen, Sten Bay Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Two incidents are described highlighting the importance of process hazard analysis in university laboratories. In the first incident, an online gas chromatograph (GC) was being developed. A complete meltdown of the heating blog was experienced during testing because the PC had failed to turn off the heating of the evaporation circuit. There had been no design review of the GC, nor any code review of the software controlling the GC. Neither had there been any management of change review for the introduction of the GC in the pilot plant environment, and so the GC had been introduced without any additional safety interlocks. In the second incident, a PhD student was pumping a mixture of water, methanol and isopropanol from an underground tank to the sewer while diluting it with water. The water lock of the sewer line was broken, and the mixture drained into the basement of the building instead of the sewer. From there, vapours spread to nearby facilities including an office building with many office workers and other laboratory facilities. A hazard analysis would have indicated the need to keep basement doors closed and only opened on an as-needed basis. If a hydrocarbon detector had been present in the basement it would have quickly alerted staff towards the source of the problem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLoss Prevention Bulletin
Issue number238
Pages (from-to)17-19
ISSN0260-9576
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • University
  • Laboratory
  • Process hazar analysis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Incident at university research facility - melt down of gas chromatograph evaporation block and failure of a passive safety barrier.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this