All staff, visiting workers and students are required to
contribute to health and safety in the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
by working in a manner that is
clean, tidy and thoughtful at all times and by ensuring that all work
procedures have been subject to risk assessment. The following general safety
must be no eating, drinking, smoking in laboratories or workshops.
doors must never be jammed open
appropriate and required, suitable protective clothing must be worn but must
not be taken into rest areas and coffee rooms. Laboratory coats should be hung
up separately from other clothing.
staff should be aware that, for example, open shoes or shorts are inappropriate
for certain types of activity. There may be occasions when long hair should be
spectacles or visors must be worn when handling acids, alkalis, corrosive or
other hazardous materials and when using workshop machinery.
gloves should be worn when handling hazardous materials, including liquid
used, disposable gloves should be changed frequently to avoid contamination.
Remove disposable gloves before handling other equipment and books and before
leaving the appropriate work area/laboratory if possible. To avoid
contamination, one glove must always be removed to handle doorknobs etc.
and room exits should be kept clear at all times. Clothes and belongings should
be kept in cloakrooms, lockers or designated areas in the laboratory/ workshops
areas where applicable.
not run in corridors.
or appropriate carriers should be used to convey equipment, materials and
should be taken when using glassware, in particular when fitting rubber/plastic
connections and using pipettes.
not work with flammable solvents near a naked flame, or place them in
refrigerators or freezers unless these are spark-proofed.
phones must be turned off particularly when working with flammable solvents.
presence of children in laboratories is not permitted. If it is necessary for a
child to enter the building, this is permitted if the child is at all times
supervised by a responsible adult and is not left unattended. All
responsibility for accidents caused will be that of the parent or person in
charge of the child.
must not be brought into the School’s premises.
against tetanus is strongly recommended (available from your GP).
For both safety and insurance purposes, service engineers
and members of the Buildings and Estates Division must obtain a permit to work
before commencing work in any laboratory, and must be warned of any hazards
associated with the area. These permits also ensure that the workers are
covered by the University insurance. Equipment for repair should be clean and
free from hazards before they commence work. The University Asbestos Register
is available from Buildings and Estates.
The person responsible for issuing work permits for work
within the building is the School Safety Officer. Responsibility for issuing
permits for work outside the building including work on the tower block roof
and/or slab block roof rests with Buildings and Estates. However,
responsibility for control of personnel to these roof areas rests with the
School Safety Officer who is to ensure that risk assessments have been
completed, and safe systems of work are established. This remains true for
access to the observatory on the slab block roof by authorised staff and students.
night in proximity to moving equipment is potentially hazardous, and safety is
the primary concern when observing. Each observing session is overseen by a
member of academic staff or a postgraduate demonstrator, who is designated as
the Night Officer, and students may never observe on their own. Specific rules
apply to ensure observatory
Undergraduate or Postgraduate student may carry out experimental work in a
research laboratory or student workshops until (s)he has received appropriate
induction safety briefing, read the relevant risk assessment(s) and signed to
that effect in locally held records of safety briefings.
toxic materials may be handled by Undergraduates working in the research
laboratories unless his/her supervisor or other member of staff is present.
working in laboratories out of normal University hours is not permitted for undergraduate
research students may only undertake experimental work outside normal working
hours if permission has been obtained from their academic supervisor who has
considered the safety aspects of their work.
must be sought from the Head of School by anyone wishing to undertake practical
work in laboratories involving hazardous materials or techniques outside normal
working hours, or work with hand tools or machinery in the workshops outside
normal working hours. Approval will only be granted when arrangements are made
to ensure another responsible person is present and remains in sight of the
person conducting the work, and to ensure that this person will not undertake
any hazardous activity him/herself and is familiar with the safety procedures
involved with the work.
working outside normal working hours must sign his or her name and times of
arrival and departure on the record held in the foyer at the rear entrance to
the Physics Building. This is for security reasons and to ensure that in case of
fire or other emergency that a record of people in the building is readily
cases of non-hazardous lone working, it is always best practice to try to
ensure that another responsible person is always within calling distance.
If it is
not possible for a research group to arrange for two research workers to be
present when the topping up of refrigerants is required, the following procedure
should be arranged with Patrol HQ:
HQ on internal Ext 3999 to advise:
the recharging procedure is about to take place.
approximate time before a further call will be made to confirm that the
exercise has been completed.
internal extension number to be contacted if no further call is made and also
two external phone numbers which can be contacted in case of emergency (e.g.
Supervisor’s home phone number).
is not received after the due period has elapsed, Patrol HQ should try to
establish contact on the internal phone number given, whilst directing a
patrolman to investigate. If an emergency develops the external phone numbers
will be used to contact specialised help without delay.
personnel in the College who need to leave apparatus running unattended
must discuss arrangements and relevant risk assessment with the College Safety
Officer, and complete a temporary running permit. This permit may be valid for
up to 14 days. A new permit is required for each new unattended experiment or
renewal past 14 days.
is invalid unless correctly completed and signed by the responsible supervisor.
Apparatus left running unattended must have the appropriate permit displayed in
a prominent position adjacent to it with a copy displayed on the laboratory
door together with a notice indicating that the apparatus is running outside
normal working hours. A further copy of the permit must be passed to the School
Safety Officer who must maintain a record of all extant permits.
description of the apparatus, gases, chemicals and/or micro-organisms in
use, the name of worker and supervisor must be completed, together with
emergency telephone numbers and signature of supervisor.
- If the
equipment requires running water, then all hoses must be secured and
checked daily; remember that the water pressure tends to increase at
It is in
your interest to complete these forms as the Estate Patrol or other workers may
turn off equipment found without appropriate permits.
laboratory must list all equipment left running permanently. A master list must
be held centrally by the School Safety Officer and reviewed annually. A
permanent running permit will be issued for each item.
equipment must have a current electrical safety test and have a plug
- Only essential
equipment such as incubators, refrigerators etc, should be left running
telephone numbers should be supplied for each item of equipment.
(see also Section 8)
solvents have a low boiling point, higher vapour pressure and low surface
tension. This may lead to the risk of fire and explosion as well as being a
toxic hazard (see notes on important points relating to common chemicals).
Flammable liquids should not be poured from one vessel to another or heated
near an open flame. The ‘no smoking’ rule must be rigidly observed at all
times. Solvents will only be issued in small quantities in a labelled
container. Excess solvent should be returned to stores or to special disposal
containers (metal containers with screw stoppers) as soon as possible. The
containers must be kept tightly stoppered and stored outside where practicable.
Solvents must never be poured down the sink.
monoxide, butane, propane, ethylene, acetylene, methane, calor gas, town gas,
Where any of
these gases are used “No smoking or Naked flames” notices must be permanently
displayed and enforced during the period of the activity/experiment. Care
should always be taken to minimise electrical arcing or frictional sparks in
the vicinity, and also the quantity of flammable materials. In the case of a
large leakage of flammable gas/vapour, the person in charge must ensure that
the area of work is ventilated thoroughly before electricity is turned on or
off. Tubes used for conducting hydrocarbon gases should not be of rubber, as
this is softened by them, but of PVC, neoprene, metal or polythene.
It is often
required to pass flammable gases through a cold trap to remove water vapour or
other contaminants. When this is done, the following rules should be observed
using a system where metallic contamination is already present, a trap made of
stainless steel or aluminium alloy should be used. A trap so constructed is
not subject to cracking from thermal shock.
high purity levels have to be maintained, a silica or glass trap may be used
but only with liquid Nitrogen as coolant. The reason is that if the trap were
to crack and a high leak rate ensued the liquid air or oxygen could mix with
the gas and cause a dangerous explosion.
using the apparatus, the whole should be thoroughly flushed through with the
gas before the trap is placed in the coolant, so as to avoid condensation of
residual air, an obvious hazard.
cold trap is frequently the greatest single volume in a piece of apparatus, therefore
representing the greatest explosive potential; it is a good point to fit a
rupture bubble to the trap so that the pressure can find relief without
smashing the trap, and so creating a flying gas hazard.
Room ventilation systems are the responsibility of Buildings
and Estates Department. Checks are made as prescribed by them. Any faults or
inefficiencies that are suspected should be reported to the appropriate
Laboratory Supervisor or School Safety Officer. In case of emergency, the
Buildings and Estates Division should be contacted directly and the School
Safety Officer advised.
In case of
lift breakdown the Porter should be contacted (ext 3933) or the Estate Patrol
directly (ext 3999). A trapped person pressing the warning button inside the
car informs Estate Patrol HQ in Northcote House that a lift in an identified
building has broken down. On receiving this signal a Patrol Supervisor alerts lift
service engineers who will take appropriate action to have the passengers
released as quickly as possible.
should be made to rescue passengers yourself if any are trapped inside the car.