The University of Tennessee System Safety Officer is establishing a Lessons Learned Library for the University System. This library allows personnel at each of the UT campuses to learn about other campus experiences and share their own.

Lessons learned are short documents that describe an incident that resulted or nearly resulted in a loss. The loss can be harm to a member of the campus community, damage to property, or any other loss related to health and safety, regulatory compliance, or the environment. Lessons learned are intended be teaching tools. They should not identify individuals or overly identify a group in a way that may be embarrassing. The focus should be on learning from the conditions and practices that led to the incident.

Key Lessons Learned Questions

  • what happened?
  • what went wrong, and what went right?
  • what did we learn, and what can we do towards prevention?

From these experiences we should be able to walk away with a few corrective actions or approaches that can help prevent an incident in the future.

You can develop and share Lessons Learned. Visit the Lessons Learned template page for more information.

The University of Tennessee Lessons Learned Library is based on several models including the Department of Energy Operating Experience: Lessons Learned, Best Practices Library, commonly called OPEXShare. This database is an excellent resource that UT campus safety leaders are encouraged to register for and use. Within are hundreds of Lessons Learned summaries that can be learned from and shared.

Visit for more information.

Table of Lessons Learned

Title/TopicPrimary CategoryPrimary EffectKeywords
Acid Neutralization System-Lab Debris Lab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Property DamageLab debris, clogging
Acryoyl Chloride Near MissLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Injury/Illnessexothermic reaction
Furnace Experiment Sample Tube FailureLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Injury/Illnesstoxic chemical, ventilation,
Laser Acetone FireLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Property DamageFlammable vapors, laser ignition source, Ablation Synthesis
Mercury Spill in Lab OvenLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Property Damagethermometer
Needle Stick Mindfulness & Infectious Agent ExposureLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Injury/Illnesssmall animals, mice, needle disconnect
Phosgene-Chloroform Release Lab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Injury/IllnessOld chemicals, expired
Propane Release from Laboratory Gas Valve Operations/MaintenanceInjury/Illnesslab, propane, spigot
UV Light Exposure in Air-Handling Unit Operations/MaintenanceInjury/IllnessAHU, LOTO, Lockout/Tagout
Vivarium Fire Alarm EquipmentLab (Chem, Bio, Rad)Regulatory Compliancesmall animals, mice, mouse, fire drills, noise