As we near the 10 year anniversary of the fire in the UCLA lab, it's interesting to note that C&EN's report on the outcome of Dr. Herran's legal case was one of the top six read stories of the year.
The Science Careers column also reflects on this anniversary. The opening paragraph is below.
A decade after a fatal lab safety disaster, what have we learned?
This month marks 10 years since Sheharbano ‰??Sheri‰?? Sangji undertook her last experiment. On 29 December 2008, the 23-year-old lab technician tried to transfer a small quantity of tert-Butyllithium, which ignites on contact with air. The attempt ended in a fiery catastrophe; she died 18 agonizing days later. A subsequent 95-page state investigative report excoriated the lab‰??s principal investigator (PI), Patrick Harran, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for allowing a recent college graduate to work alone on a risky and intricate task without the training, technique, equipment, or protective gear needed to perform it safely. Unprecedented criminal charges and a yearslong legal case followed.
Unfortunately, there was a fatal explosion in a lab in India yesterday. See
for details on this event.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
American Chemical Society
Division of Chemical Health and Safety
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