A laboratory fire that killed a UCLA technician has resulted in felony charges against the university and Professor Patrick Harran, who ran the lab.
Sheri Sangji, a UCLA staff research assistant, died in January 2009 after suffering second- and third-degree burns in a chemical fire. The fire started when the syringe Sangji was using to extract a highly flammable liquid broke apart, ignited and set her clothes on fire. Sangji was not wearing a lab coat or flame-retardant clothing.
The charges—for three willful violations of California’s occupational safety and health standards—allege that Harran and the university failed to provide hazard training, lacked systems for correcting unsafe conditions and did not require workers to wear protective clothing.