Laboratory accidents in Korea have exponentially increased over the last five years. Significantly, eighty-three percent of the accidents occurred in universities. In 2018, a chemistry lab at Seoul National University of Science and Technology exploded while two students were conducting some experiments utilizing formic acid, a colorless liquid which may cause blisters by skin contact. Students and professors evacuated out of the building but they suffered from serious burns. They asserted that a reagent bottle lying on the desk suddenly exploded.
A Chlorine gas leak took place at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology last summer. Graduate students appeared to have symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain and nausea. After a thorough investigation, researchers concluded that a chlorine gas escaped when they opened a gas valve.
To prevent lab accidents and compensate for damages, laboratory safety management should be established. Allocating a larger amount of national level budgets and enforcing standardized policies is surely needed. Moreover, precise planning of safety inspections should occur to make a safe lab environment. Regular safety checks should be carried out by a designated safety manager. Lastly, it is of great importance for students to be provided with sufficient information and follow the established rules. Since universities are mainly consist of undergraduate and graduate students, the materials, equipment and technologies should be used under proper control.
The Dean of the College of Natural and Life Sciences at Daegu University, Young Jun Cho stated that, if possible, they should avoid utilizing radioactive isotopes since they are extremely dangerous materials posing the threat of killing humans and releasing a large amount of radiation into the air. In addition, making use of organic solvents during the experiments is discouraged due to their unstable nature. They take emergency measures and follow the law with respect to making a safe lab environment. Safety devices are working when hazards are likely to occur. For instance, there exists a curtain that protects people from acid spatter.
L.L.F reporter Jane Jeong