I was in second year co-op chemistry at the University of Waterloo. The class was inorganic chemistry, and we were synthesizing some organometallic compound. This was one of those laboratories where special caution was urged throughout the experiment. It was near the end of the laboratory period, and I had just gone to the storeroom either to sign out or to return some equipment. I returned to the sight of water gushing throughout the hallway from the laboratory. Someone had pulled the cord to the safety shower.
One of the students had been cleaning his glassware. It was difficult to clean, and required a combination of organic solvents and acid – but not at the same time! The student had added acid to glassware, which still contained residual solvent, and concentrated acid flashed back into his face! For many weeks you could see scars around his face, showing the exact outline of where his safety glasses had been. Due largely to this incident, I’ll never forget the importance of safety glasses when working around corrosive chemicals.