More than five years ago, a Texas Tech University graduate student lost three fingers and suffered burns and eye damage when a metal compound detonated during a laboratory project.
Meanwhile, the University of California, Los Angeles, has spent $20 million on lab safety following the death of a staff researcher in a lab fire in 2008. The researcher was not wearing a protective lab coat when the plunger on a syringe she was using dislodged, discharging a chemical compound that burns when exposed to air. She suffered serious burns and died nearly three weeks later.
These incidents illustrate some of the hazards of lab work. Others listed by OSHA, in addition to dangerous chemicals, include bloodborne pathogens, radiation, and musculoskeletal stress.