Safety News: February 2017

Signs of Progress with Safety Incidents in 2016

In 2015-16, the Department of Chemistry community successfully began a habit of submitting a Safety Incident Report any time an injury or unsafe event occurred in the Chemistry Building. Now, we are having everyone report even minor incidents or near misses — situations that could have resulted in an injury or unsafe situation but did not. The good news is that on the whole, the types of events being reported are beginning to change from more serious events to more minor events, and the total number of events went from 28 in the first half of 2016 to 17 in the second half of the year. Please continue reporting safety incidents. This will help us continue to improve safety for everyone in the Chemistry Building.

How to Safely Store Unwanted Materials in Fume Hoods

The University’s Environmental Health & Safety team has notified us that we need to continue working to properly store unwanted materials in fume hoods. Do not store unwanted material in open beakers or flasks. Use a container with a lid and label what is in the container as “Unwanted X/Y.” Keep the lid of the container closed except when adding or removing unwanted material. Do not purposely evaporate unwanted solvents in a fume hood. Use a secondary container such as a tray when storing unwanted chemical containers containing any liquids.

Electrical Safety: Extension Cords and Power Strips

All appliances in the building (anything from a coffee pot to research equipment) must be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Using a power strip or extension cord for appliances is a fire hazard. It is okay to plug computer equipment and cell phone chargers into a power strip. If you know of a room in need of additional electrical outlets, please contact Jeff at

Accidental TATP Synthesis at University of Bristol

A graduate student at the University of Bristol was carrying out a literature procedure to oxidise an aldehyde to the carboxylic acid using aqueous acidified chlorite and accidentally synthesized TATP, an explosive. The student had carried out a risk assessment prior to beginning the procedure. Please read the following reports and learn from the student’s experience: "How a student unintentionally made an explosive at U Bristol” and "How not to do it: TATP


Please contact Professor Ive Hermans (, Safety Committee chair, or Jeff Nielsen (, building manager, with questions related to safety. Visit the Safety webpage to learn about department policies and resources related to safety.

Contact Name: 
Ive Hermans
Contact Email: