Risk Assessment Regulations
In autumn 2012 The School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE) initiated a project to increase lab safety together with a group of PhD students. These regulations and the Red List are the result of their work.
Please note that these regulations are a work in progress, and feedback is both vital and much appreciated in order to adapt them to the ever changing reality of our laboratories.
The regulation involves in short:
- The Risk Assessment Form for high-risk procedures (i.e. work involving exceptionally risky chemicals or dangerous conditions during procedures).
- A Risk Awareness Test made for common low-risk work – not yet available.
- The Red List containing exceptionally high risk chemicals/instruments in the institution.
- A red board outside the labs where the people can indicate when working with high risk chemicals.
- Regular seminars held by experts in the field.
- Regular safety routines, performed by the division head, in order raise safety awareness in the laboratories
- In addition to this, all information regarding safety regulations should be available to everyone, and thus easy to locate on the CHE website, as well as in the laboratories.
Risk Assessment Form and Red List
CHE has created a Red List with hazardous materials, instruments and procedures.
Anyone working with a material, instrument or procedure mentioned in the Red List should fill out the Risk Assessment Form.
The Risk Assessment Form may also be filled out by people not working with red listed materials, instruments or procedures if they deem it necessary. This is encouraged, in order to increase safety awareness in laboratory practices.
Seminars in laboratory safety will be given at least once per semester by professionals in the field.
The Heads of the Divisions are important role models in order to cultivate raised risk awareness. They need to make the time and effort to set an example.
A suggested course of action might be:
- 1 time/week the Head of Division takes 30 minutes to make a route in each lab room checking: lab coat, goggles, and gloves according to the practice. A checklist is recommended.
Communicating safety regulations
Information regarding safety regulations, including the Red List and the Risk Assessment Form, should be made available to everyone. The information will be easily located on the CHE website as well as in the laboratories.
Risk Awareness Test – not yet available
At a later stage, an online test for general risk awareness will be introduced. This test will involve several important issues when entering a laboratory. It will also take into consideration basic knowledge regarding solvents, and characterization techniques involving, high pressure, high temperatures, magnetic fields, steam at high temperatures, etc.
In addition, the test will have an outcome, pass or fail, and also a register signature (“I agree on the terms proposed”). After getting the “pass” grade, it will automatically generate a certificate that may be printed and stored in a folder for safety regulations. This online test has to be taken by everyone that wants/needs to enter to the laboratories: PhDs, seniors, postdocs, visitor researchers, etc.
When creating a Risk Awareness Test it is vital to include every general risk and emergency situation. The School of Chemical and Engineering is fortunate to have many professionals and experts among its staff, and their input is therefore of the utmost importance.