This paper proposed a new approach, combining root cause analysis (RCA), analytic hierarchy process (AHP), and event tree analysis (ETA) in a loop to systematically evaluate various laboratory safety prevention strategies. First, 139 fire accidents were reviewed to identify the root causes and draw out prevention strategies. Most fires were caused due to runaway reactions, operation error and equipment failure, and flammable material release. These mostly occurred in working places of no prompt fire protection. We also used AHP to evaluate the priority of these strategies and found that chemical fire prevention strategy is the most important control element, and strengthening maintenance and safety inspection intensity is the most important action. Also together with our surveys results, we proposed that equipment design is also critical for fire prevention. Therefore a technical improvement was propounded: installing fire detector, automatic sprinkler, and manual extinguisher in the lab hood as proactive fire protections. ETA was then used as a tool to evaluate laboratory fire risks. The results indicated that the total risk of a fire occurring decreases from 0.0351 to 0.0042 without/with equipment taking actions. Establishing such system can make Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) office not only analyze and prioritize fire prevention policies more practically, but also demonstrate how effective protective equipment improvement can achieve and the probabilities of the initiating event developing into a serious accident or controlled by the existing safety system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes