Incident/Near Miss Summary Report

Lithium Battery Incident

Updated June 09, 2016

Incident or near miss – On 4/19/16 at ~6 pm, an undergraduate (hereafter referred to as “student”) and his girlfriend (not an MIT student) were in a professor’s office working on student’s UROP project, a robotic exoskeleton designed to increase vertical leap distance for the user.  The student had been told that he was only to test the project with the assistance of a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher, but no one from the lab group was available that day.  The thesis project was due very soon and the student needed data, so his girlfriend

Animal/Mouse Bite

Updated July 15, 2015

Incident or near miss –

On May 21, 2015 a research assistant was restraining a mouse for the purpose of subcutaneously injecting a medication. They were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves on both hands. However, one particular mouse turned its head during the restraint and bit the middle finger of his left hand.


Unattended process leads to building evacuation.

Updated February 19, 2015

Incident or near miss – Brief description

Researcher passing through a campus building hallway on a Saturday afternoon smelled a burning odor coming from a lab.  After knocking on the door and getting no answer, he proceeded to leave building, activating fire alarm.  When the fire department arrived, they found a hot plate/stirrer with a scorched beaker on top out on an open lab bench.  They turned off the hot plate and allowed people back into the building, but not into the lab until EHS verified it was safe.


Phenol Skin Exposure

Updated August 29, 2014

Incident or near miss

While performing a phenol/chloroform DNA extraction in a chemical fume hood, the researcher removed a microcentrifuge tube from the hood and began “flicking” or gently tapping on it.  The lid popped open and a small amount (about 5 drops) of phenol/chloroform splashed onto researcher’s chest /neck area.  Researcher was wearing gloves and safety glasses, but no lab coat at time of incident.


Response action 

Small Fire on Bench

Updated May 27, 2014

Incident – Brief description


Drain Trap

Updated March 25, 2014

Incident or near miss

Two Researchers reported a sulfur smell in their office that had been going on for a week and asked for EHS assistance on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

Response action

Odor Investigation

Updated January 21, 2014

Incident or near miss

Caller reported a diffuse burning plastic smell in adjacent buildings.


Response action

Dichloromethane Spill

Updated January 21, 2014

Incident or near miss:

A 4 liter bottle of dichloromethane broke spilling contents on to bench top and floor.


Response action:

Hood Fire

Updated October 02, 2013

Incident or near miss:

At about 8 am on a Friday, a chemistry technician was running a 1 gram scale hydrogenation reaction, which involved stirring under hydrogen atmosphere in the presence of palladium on carbon. He was working inside a fume hood and wearing nitrile gloves, a lab coat, and safety glasses, and per lab policy another lab mate was close by.  The scale at which he was running the reaction in this instance was considered to be the standard optimized scale and he had previously received ment