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Lab Safety



"A picture is worth a thousand words"

Destroyed Coleman's lab after an explosion and fire at Ohio State

Chem&Eng News, 2005, 83, 34-35  


Laboratory Safety is a very critical aspect of science. Protocols, practices and regulatory issues regarding research are routinely trained and addressed in the private sector, but unfortunately they continue being underestimated in most academic labs. The most serious accidents usually are related to unexpected explosions during a chemical reaction. Although everybody can make mistakes, these accidents usually occur by a lack of knowledge on the hazards associated to specific chemicals and reactions. There is limitless documentation available on Internet that aims to minimize these hazards and explain how should we behave in the case of an emergency in the lab caused by a personal injury, an explosion or a fire.

Herein, we want to emphasize the importance of this theme by listing examples of dangerous procedures that everybody should keep in mind. As a commitment, we will schedule in our group lab safety/learning reports and consequent actions aiming to avoid accidents, as well as to identify and use emergency equipment and protective gear.

Next you can find a compilation of a series of "stories" you should ALWAYS (no excuses) keep in mind during your daily work in the lab.


UCLA. Tragic accident involving tert-butyllithium

Explosive Decomposion of an Organic Azide

Lithium Aluminum Hydride and Tetrahydrofuran Explosion

Stirred Reaction Flask Explosion

Chemical Solution Preparation Explosion

Phenyl Azide Solution Erupts During Vacuum Distillation

Bursting Chemical Container

Unintended Overpressurization of Sealed Vial Results in Rupture

A Bench Scale Chemical Reaction Results in an Explosion

Gas Cylinder Gasket Melted Due To Reaction with Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride

Chemical Container Failure Due to Over-pressurization

Aqueous Hydrogen Peroxide and Acetic Anhydride Explosion

Diazomethane Explosion (Org.Proc. Res. Dev. 2008, 12, 1285)

Magnesium and copper oxide Explosion (J. Chem. Educ. 1994, 71, 328)

Protic Ionic Liquid Explosion (Green Chem. 2013, Advance Article; DOI: 10.1039/C3GC41328D)

Texas Tech Laboratory Explosion

Oxidizer/Solvent Explosion

Glass Bottle Ruptures, Possible Reaction of Incompatible Chemical Wastes

Adding Diaminopropane and Potassium Hydroxide     

Two Explosions Involving Aqua Regia

Failure to Manually Purge Hazardous Gases

Lab Freezer Explodes



Chemical Reactivity Incidents

Lab Safety Institute

The Importance of Classroom Lab Safety

Online Training Courses on Lab Safety 




Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories 

Laboratory Safety Guidance (OSHA)

Explosive and Reactive Chemical Hazards

Fire Safety and Use of Fire Extinguishers: Because fire is the most common serious hazard that one faces in a typical chemistry lab!!

NEW!: House Fires: Prevention, Preparation, and Other Safety Considerations




Remember: Developing a culture of asking yourself “what” and “why” are you doing something EVERYTIME you are working in a lab, will not only have a positive impact in your research, but it will also help you to prevent accidents. 



  1. Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy
  2. Institute of Organic Chemistry

Research Group
Dr. David Díaz-Díaz

Prof. PD Dr. habil.
David Díaz Díaz

Heisenberg Prof. (2013-2018)


CH 23.2.21

Phone +(0) 941943-4630
Fax +(0) 941943-4121