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16134 Chemical accident in Netherlands with ether
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General accident information
Class/Quality * * * *
Year 1998
Summary Due to a clogged relief valve
And insufficient supervision,
An explosion occurred in fume
Cupboard causing 1 casualty
Country NL
Chemicals Ether
Cause Management-failure
Fatalities/Injuries 0 / 1
Occurrences or events Clog, Explosion, Fire, Heating,
Human-operations, Ignition, Management-failure, Management-failure,
No-action, Overpressure, Release
Full accident information 
download accident report Click here to view a document containing the full accident information

Country: NL
Date : 1998 1201

A fire and explosion occurred in the acid fume chamber of a university
laboratory. A girl student got 2nd degree burns to her head and hands owing
to an ether-vapour explosion.
Less than 10/l of ether was distilled in a faulty distillation-column, due
to a clogged relief valve. The chemical was heated with an electrical
heating-equipment. After that, the pressure was build up and the ether
released from the column, outside of the fume cupboard, which resulted in
the explosion.
The damage in the laboratory was estimated at 50000 NL guilders.

1. Inadequate inspection of the equipment.
2. Incorrect attitude with regard of the safety by the management.
3. Inadequate supervision through the management.

Lessons learned
1. Better inspection tour.
2. Purchase higher quality of ether.

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