Utah Health and Wellness
Fri June 13, 2014
USU Chemical Spill Forces Lab Evacuation
A chemical spill was reported on the Utah State University campus Friday morning. The building was evacuated and two employees were transported to a local hospital.
According to officials, an employee at the Laboratory Animal Research Center was using a chemical incorrectly which released hazardous fumes. Tim Vitale, Director of PR and Marketing at USU said the woman and another male employee were taken to Logan Regional Hospital.
"One employee put a chemical element called Virkon into an autoclave, which is a disinfecting device. It was a chemical that should not have been put into an autoclave and it released the chemical that can cause respiratory distress."
Hospital officials confirmed the patients were admitted into the emergency room, but no other details were given. Vitale said a similar incident happened in March and since, the employees received training on handling the hazardous materials within the lab. However, the employee who caused the spill was new and hadn’t yet received the training.
"Following that last incident, our environmental health and safety employees did conduct extensive training for employees of the LARC. We did train people following that and it was specific to the use of the autoclave and Virkon," Vitale said.
Seven total employees were evacuated and received basic vital exams. While the LARC building was evacuated, officials say the spill was contained and the public is in no immediate danger. No names were released.