Promoting a Safe Laboratory Environment Using the Reactive Hazard Evaluation and Analysis Compilation Tools

Link to Journal article


In the past several years, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has found an increase in the frequency of laboratory accidents and injuries. A framework to document, assess, and mitigate hazards is a critical starting point for ensuring safe laboratory practices. To address this requirement, I was part of a team working on developing Reactive Hazards Evaluation Analysis and Compilation Tool (RHEACT), an online platform to compile and scrutinize hazards-related information, was developed. This work was jointly supported by the CISTAR consortium and the Purdue Process Safety and Assurance Center (P2SAC)

When planning an experiment, the researchers provide RHEACT: (1) information about the chemicals involved in the reaction, in the form of Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and (2) operating parameters of the reaction. Through the user-supplied SDS, an operational hazard matrix and a chemical compatibility matrix are generated. In addition, adiabatic temperature rise of the reaction is estimated to ensure that the chemistry is within user-controlled bounds. The user is provided with a broad initial evaluation of potential hazards and is notified of safety concerns associated with the reaction before conducting the experiment.

During the development of the tool, I was involved in following tasks:

  1. Develop the PDF parser that will read, extract, and store relevant chemical information from material safety datasheets (MSDS)
  2. Build front-end GUI using React
  3. Build web automation routine for generating chemical compatibility matrix using Selenium.

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