OSHA Issues Nine Serious Citations Following Laser Lab Accident

OSHA has cited the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics for nine alleged serious safety violations and proposed $56,700 in fines against the laboratory as a result of an Aug. 6, 2008, accident that seriously injured an employee.

The employee was servicing a pressurized diagnostic device for the OMEGA laser known as the Light Pipe when it exploded. OSHA's inspection found deficiencies regarding the design, installation, and operator training for the Light Pipe and the compressed gas system of which it was a part. OSHA has cited the lab for failing to safeguard employees against recognized explosion hazards associated with assembly, disassembly, pressurizing, evacuating, and monitoring activities for the Light Pipe.

"While this machinery is singular, the underlying safety concerns are basic and vital," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Effective steps must be taken and maintained to eliminate any conditions that could contribute to a recurrence of this unfortunate and grave accident. One element of this could be an effective safety and health management system through which employees and management work together to evaluate, identify, and eliminate workplace hazards."

Specifically, the laboratory has been cited for failing to keep the Light Pipe gas tight or provide it with a pressure relief device to prevent an instantaneous uncontrolled gas leak; failing to have the compressed gas system designed by a competent person; an improper gas pressure regulating device; housing the compressed gas cylinder in a place where it was exposed to damage; improper installation of the platform plate from which the Light Pipe was attached; having unqualified persons work on the compressed gas system; lack of eye, face, and hand protection; and not evaluating the work area for hazards.

The laboratory has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022

    Featuring:

    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
    • HEAT STRESS
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
    • EMPLOYEE HEALTH SCREENING
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
    • PPE FOR WOMEN
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue