A Penn State University student suffered burns from a small explosion that occurred in a campus laboratory on Wednesday evening.
The Associated Press reported that the student was doing a tissue culture in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building around 5:30pm last night, October 15th. A tissue culture is a method of biological research that involves moving a portion of animal or plant tissue to an artificial environment in which it can continue to grow and be studied. The explosion occurred in an exhaust hood of the lab. The incident is currently being investigated by Penn State’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety. A representative from the Alpha Fire Company told reporters that the use of alcohol as a form of sterilization is being investigated as a potential cause.
The student’s condition was not available Thursday morning. The victim may have reason to file a civil lawsuit if sterilization methods were, in fact, the cause of the explosion.
Many accidents appear to be just that, accidents. However, it is important to look in depth at every cause for injury. Once a situation is thoroughly examined, it can be determined if the accident was a result of some form of negligence. In the case of the PSU student, if sterilization methods are determined as the cause of the explosion, the incident may have been avoided if alcohol was not used. Perhaps, those working for and in the laboratory had the knowledge that alcohol, in combination with other substances, may become reactive. If this proves to be true, the victim of the explosion may have a case.