Propane Release from Laboratory Gas Valve

Category: Injury/Illness


photo of laboratory gas spigotsA weekend custodial crew was performing a comprehensive cleaning of a laboratory in preparation for the space to be occupied by a newly hired Principle Investigator. In addition to the areas routinely cleaned, the staff was instructed to clean the bench-tops inside a cold room located within the laboratory space.  During the process of cleaning the bench in the cold room a propane value was bumped causing the valve to open slightly.  This led to a slow propane leak that was not detected by the cleaning staff. The partially opened value resulted in the gradual release of the contents of a 200 gallon propane tank.  The leak was discovered by the smell of propane in the building when occupants returned to the facility on Monday morning. Facilities Services and Knoxville Fire Department were immediately notified. The building was closed until it was ventilated and the open value was identified (approximately 3 hours).

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