US safety board to probe Texas Tech laboratory explosion

19 January 2010 17:16  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will investigate the causes of a laboratory explosion at Texas Tech University earlier this month, and it also plans a broad review of similar accidents at school and university labs across the US, it said on Tuesday.

The explosion on 7 January at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, severely injured a graduate student, the board said.

The accident appeared to have occurred in the chemistry department during the handling of a high-energy metal compound, which suddenly detonated, it said.

Texas Tech had entered into an agreement with Northeastern University in Boston, which holds a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security to study the high-energy materials, it added.

CSB chairman John Bresland said his organisation was seeing accidents in high school and university labs every year.

“I believe it is time to begin examining these accidents to see if they can be prevented through the kind of rigorous safety management systems that we and others have advocated in industrial settings,” he said.

The CSB planned to collect information on several laboratory accidents for a future study on the topic, he said.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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