Fall

2012

By: K. Lee Stone

 

Lee Stone has a Master's degree in toxicology from Indiana University and is a certified Chemical Hygiene Officer. Lee has served as the Laboratory Safety Manager for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety since 2004.

E-mail Lee Stone at: leestone@iupui.edu

 

 

Have you Checked your Support Clips Lately?

The photograph on the left is of a small but vital part of many chemical storage cabinets. In fact these clips are the only thing holding many chemical shelves up. You will find these devices inside of flammable storage cabinets and in storage cabinets underneath fume hoods. If one of these is missing or should break the entire shelf of chemicals could come crashing down.

 

The collapse of shelving inside of a chemical storage cabinet can have devastating effects. Click here to read about a chemical shelving collapse that destroyed a university research building.

 

Missing or uneven support clips can also result in a collapse. The support clips should be placed at the exact height on all four slots. If you look closely at the photograph below you will notice that one clip was placed at a lower height than the clip in the foreground. The uneven placement of the support clips left one corner of the shelving without support and when a bottle was placed on that corner the shelf tipped and bottles fell over.

 

Another cause of shelving collapse is an overloaded shelf. Please remove chemicals from any storage shelf that appears to be bowing due to excessive load. An overloaded shelf will eventually drop because as it bows there is less shelving resting on the support brackets.

 

We are now checking chemical storage cabinets for overloaded, missing, uneven or damaged clips as part of our laboratory safety inspection process and ask that you also periodically check your cabinets. A quick visual check of the shelving and support clips in your chemical storage cabinets could prevent a catastrophic event.

 

Lab Notes is a quarterly publication by the IUPUI Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Lab Notes is designed, edited and published by K. Lee Stone.

"Don't Learn Laboratory Safety by Accident!"