Untrained chemist evaluates thermal data incorrectly
Near Miss Recorded
A material was waiting for thermal testing (by DSC) before distillation was attempted. The test was started running just before the safety scientist went home so that it would be ready for evaluation the next morning. A shift chemist looked at the monitor near the end of the run and decided that, as there was almost a straight line from 25-300°C, that the material could be heated to at least 200°C.
The material was "cooking" nicely at about 150°C the next morning when the safety scientist, gave the morning shift, the result of not to heat over 80°C. Not only was there a very large peak at 300°C, but there was a medium sized peak at a lower temperature, this had been "masked" by the display's autoscaling feature. Fortunately the scale was small enough to not cause an incident.
- Untrained chemists must not be allowed to make judgments of safety
- The Morning shift should have looked for the official report before heating the material