1 How to write a risk assessment The University has a Duty of Care ...


1 How to write a risk assessment The University has a Duty of Care ...

The Kyle Rhea Tidal Stream ArrayVolume INon-Technical Summary

isk is by skin absorption). An additional concern involves inhalation of thepowdered dye and the possible development of respiratory distress.Solvents. One-litre quantities of absolute ethanol, 95% methanol and acetone are keptin screw capped glass bottles within a metal solvent cupboard. One hundred millilitrequantities of these solvents are contained in glass bottles, and used for decolorizingbiological stains and for chemical extractions. The most likely hazard stems from fireand explosion.Disinfectants. Sodium hypochlorite, in 5 litre containers, is stored in the laboratory,and used as a disinfectant. Small (200 ml) volumes of diluted (0.1% v/v) Chloros iscontained in open polypropylene containers, as disinfectant. Direct contact with theskin or eyes could result in (chemical) burns.5. Trips and falls – from items left inadvertently on floors.6. Electrical hazards (Electrical at Work Regulations, 1989) – electric shocks fromsockets; problems (electric shocks) from unsafe equipment7. Cuts/injections – from broken glass, sharps, needles8. Explosion hazards – from the inadvertent mixing of chemicals; solvents.9. Centrifuge. There is the possibility that an improperly balanced centrifuge couldfail, causing the centrifuge head to become detached and released explosivelyfrom the machine leading to severe injury.10. Display screen equipment. Two computers are available for use by the staff andstudents. Separate risk assessments have been made, and for the staff eyeexaminations are arranged on a rolling three-year programme. The hazardsconcern eyestrain, headaches and repetitive strain injury.11. Fire – from solvents, chemicals and paper (ignited by Bunsen flames andspontaneous self-ignition).PERSONS AT RISKa. Staff and students who use the laboratory.b. Visitors.LEVEL OF RISK1. Low (this assumes that the autoclave is used strictly according to themanufacturers instructions; fortunately, the electric autoclave has sufficientautomatic fail safes to reduce further any concerns).2. Moderate (due to the regularity that staff and students use hot water, autoclaves,and Bunsen burners, it is considered that there is a moderate risk of minor burnsand scalds despite the presence of warning notices).3. Low (the cultures used in the laboratory are not harmful pathogens, and the risk ofharm resulting from their use is considered to be “low”)4. Low (The quantities in the laboratory are low, and with current practices observedduring the assessment and the irregular use of these chemicals, a realistic risk ofharm is “low”).5. Low6. Low (high voltage items are not present; all electrical items, i.e. computers,printers, refrigerators, deep freezers, centrifuges, mixers and spectrophotometers)5

inoculating loops – a small flame of ≤10 cm works just as well as a large flame;and adjusting the air hole on the Bunsen burner so that the flame may be seen (ifthe air hole is completely open, the flame is virtually invisible). It is goodpractice to ensure that there is a clear space around Bunsen burners, which MUSTbe kept well away from colleagues and overhanging shelves.3. The cultures could cause disease following infection by injection, inhalation, ororally. The procedures for Category 2 pathogens, as detailed in the SafetyBooklet MUST be followed. A synopsis of the regulations taken from the HSERegulations Governing Work with Pathogens has been included in Appendix 1.In all work with microorganisms, person protective equipment (PPE), namely aproperly fastened microbiological laboratory coat must be worn. If contaminationis suspected, the contaminated object should be placed in an autoclave bag andsterilized at 121 o C for 15 minutes. Surface spills may be disinfected – 0.1% (v/v)Chloros is effective but a contact time of one minute is necessary. To protect theindividual, household style rubber gloves should be worn. The disinfectedsurface/object will then need to be washed carefully with tap water to remove theChloros, which is a powerful bleach. The rubber gloves may be washed inflowing tap water to remove the residual disinfectant.4. Data sheets MUST be consulted for each chemical if there is doubt about itssafety. There are two classes of compounds that could pose problems, i.e.pharmaceutical compounds (principally antibiotics) and stains (particularly arylmethane dyes). Skin absorption may be prevented by wearing PPE, i.e.disposable gloves (this is especially recommended if it is known that theindividual has an adverse reaction to any given compound). Thereafter, the usedgloves must be placed in the autoclave bags for sterilization and disposal with thestandard bacteriological waste. Also, the compounds should be weighed (andused) in laminar airflow cabinets. If a compound does come into accidentalcontact with skin, wash thoroughly with tap water. On no account should anycompound be brought into contact with the mouth. By use of gentle techniques,manipulations in the fume cupboards/clean air cabinet, airborne dispersal of achemical may be eliminated – do not deliberately breathe in any dust producedduring weighing or mixing procedures.Disposable gloves must not be worn outside the laboratory. If the gloves arecontaminated then there is a risk that the contaminating material could betransferred to door handles, and therefore, other individuals could becomecontaminated.To reduce any risk associated with the use of solvents, it is essential that they arestored in the appropriate solvent cupboard. Solvents must never be used in thepresence of naked flames (solvent vapours could all too easily ignite). Alsosolvents must not be mixed, unless there is good chemical evidence that suchmixtures are not potentially dangerous (causing explosions or increased amountsof potentially flammable vapours). Small quantities or ethanol, methanol andacetone may be disposed down the laboratory sinks providing that disposal isaccompanied by copious quantities of tap water. Although there was no evidence7

in the laboratory for the presence of ethers, these compounds are extremelyvolatile and disposal is by means of collection in designated Winchester bottlesand transfer to the School stores for later removal by a contractor.Although there was not any evidence for the presence of strong acids or alkalis,workers are reminded that work with such chemicals poses extra risks that mustbe considered if use is contemplated.5. Items must NOT be left on the floor for others to trip over. Personnel need to beaware of any items, which could be left on the floor.6. Electrical items must not be used if they have not been tested or the test is out ofdate (there should be a sticker on the plug). If an electrical item is seen with anout-of-date sticker, the technician in charge of the laboratory must be informed.The item will either be electrically tested or the plug removed before placement instorage.Hands/fingers must be kept well away from electrical sockets and well away fromthe conducting pins on the plugs7. Broken glass or glass fragments must not be picked with bare hands. Damagedglass objects should not be used. Sharps and razor blades are inherently sharp, soto minimize the risks of cuts/stab wounds these items should NOT be left onbenches/floors or other surfaces. When changing the blade, the use of forceps isrecommended. In short, THERE IS NO NEED TO TOUCH SHARPS/BLADES.Broken glass, needles, syringes and sharps must NEVER be discarded into theblack general refuse sacks. Instead, these items must be placed into thedesignated container. Needles – self-injection is mostly a problem when thecover is being replaced. Minimize any risk of self-injection by keeping fingerswell away from the tip of the needles, and by placing the needle (without firstreplacing the cover) directly into the discard bin.8. Mixtures of chemicals/solvents may become explosive or poisonous. In essence,chemicals must not be mixed unless you are certain of the result. Solvents mustalways be used/kept well away from sources of ignition, particularly nakedflames; the solvent containers must be kept well sealed and stored in thedesignated solvent cupboards. Chemicals must not be disposed of down sinkswithout first verifying with the safety sheet that the procedure is an acceptablemeans of disposal.9. The manufacturers instructions must be followed before use of the centrifuge.Also, the user must ensure that he/she is familiar with the instrument. Thetechnician in charge of the laboratory will give instruction. To minimize any risk,it is essential that the centrifuge head is properly fastened, the centrifuge tubes areproperly balanced, the lid properly fastened, and speed of operation kept withinthe manufacturers guidelines, i.e. the centrifuge must not be used at speeds inexcess of 4,000 r.p.m.10. Use of the computers has been assessed separately. The height, angle andbrightness of the screen need to be adjusted to suit each user. Also, the chairs are8

of adjustable height and angle to suit the users. Footrests are available. Users areencouraged to take regular breaks, but the current usage is very low.11. Solvents must be kept well clear of any source of ignition, specifically Bunsenburners. A clear zone must be kept around Bunsen burners, which should bepositioned on heatproof tiles. Bunsen burners must be kept clear of shelves,papers, and all chemicals.LEVEL OF RISK AFTER INSTIGATING PROCEDURES TO MINIMIZE THERISKS:1. Low2. Low3. Low4. Low5. Low6. Low7. Low8. Low9. Low10. Low11. LowTRAINING NEEDS:None identified for the current personnel.NATURE OF FURTHER ACTION NEEDED:• The draft University’s Lone Working Policy will impact on someactivities of some personnel, especially research students. Considerationwill need to given to this policy as soon as the contents are revealed.• Any further activities not covered by this risk assessed must be assessedadditionally.PREPARED BY: Professor B. AustinDATE: June 25, 2004DISTRIBUTION: All laboratory personnel; notice board; safety file.SIGNATORIES:DATE TO BE REVISED: June 25, 20059

APPENDIX 1 (synopsis of the regulations governing work with Category 2 pathogens).1. Microbiological pattern laboratory coats, properly fastened, must be worn in thelaboratory. They must be removed before leaving the laboratory - on no accountshould laboratory coats be worn in tea rooms, offices, the library or other publicareas.2. Laboratory coats should not be worn outside laboratories and never in a room inwhich eating, drinking or smoking is permitted.3. Laboratory coats should not be modified in any way.4. Laboratory coats should be autoclaved at 121 o C for 15 min if contamination issuspected and routinely before sending to the laundry5. Always work on the assumption that the organisms you are dealing with arepathogens and observe appropriate precautions.6. Smoking, eating, chewing, drinking, applying cosmetics, storing of food anddrink must not take place in the laboratory. Keep fingers, pens, pencils etc. awayfrom your mouth7. Mouth pipetting must not take place8. Hands must be washed with soap and water when contamination is suspected,after handling potentially infective material and before leaving the laboratory.9. Work in a tidy manner ensuring that no unnecessary equipment or glassware isleft lying around.10. All contaminated articles not suitable for flaming should be discarded intodisinfectant of which 0.1% (v/v) sodium hypochloride, eg. "Chloros", is effectivefor Category 2 pathogens.11. Petri dishes containing cultures should be placed in Sterilin bags for autoclavingat 121 o C for 15 minutes). A spore strip (obtainable from Oxoid) should beincluded to verify inactivation of the micro-organisms.12. Do not lick labels (moisten them with water from the tap) or touch your mouthwith finger, pen or pencil.13. Do not bring bags, clothing or other personal effects into the laboratory sincethey may become contaminated.14. Do not mouth pipette cultures of micro-organisms: use a safety bulb with apipette plugged with cotton wool.15. Access will be limited to authorised personnel and other workers with alegitimate reason for access.16. The door should be kept closed when work is in progress and an appropriate sign"Containment Level 2 work in progress" displayed.17. Bench working surfaces if not of an approved type must be covered with"Benchkote" and this must be replaced when damaged.18. Outdoor clothing, handbags, briefcases, etc must not be brought into thelaboratory.19. During normal working care must be taken to minimise production of aerosolse.g. capped tubes should be used for mixing and centrifuging.20. Bench working areas must be disinfected with dilute sodium hypochlorite afterspillages and routinely at the end of each working day.21. Waste materials must be disposed of safely. In particular, contaminated materialsmust be totally immersed in disinfectant or autoclaved before disposal. If10

contaminated materials are to be transported to another laboratory for autoclavingthey should be placed in an autoclave bag.22. Accidents including minor cuts and abrasions must be reported and appropriateaction taken. e.g. minor cuts should be cleaned and covered with a waterproofdressing.23. A copy of the code of Practice has been posted in each microbiology laboratoryand must be brought to the attention of personnel involved.Further information on work involving microorganisms, may be obtained from"Guidelines for Microbiological Safety" issued by the Joint Co-ordinating Committee forthe Implementation of Safe Practices in Microbiology.11

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