5 General laboratory practice
5:1 Access to Laboratories
5:1:1 The Department requires the wearing of identity badges throughout the University. It will be found that wearing your badge becomes an essential part of gaining access to certain areas of the University.
5:1:2 Animals must not be brought into the Department.
5:1:3 The Department does not normally allow access to the Department by children and friends. Children are prohibited from entering laboratories and members of staff are required to seek specific permission from the Head of Department before bringing a child to work. Children may only be brought into the Department under supervision by a parent or guardian. All visitors must be signed in to the building. The University's policy on access of children to the University is available in the leaflet Children of Staff & Students on University Premises.
5:1:4 Normal working hours are between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday excluding public holidays and University closures. Outside these times is considered to be 'out of hours working'.
5:1:5 Out of hours working is allowed provided:
- that the late book located in the Adrian Building Main Entrance is completed.
- that out of hours working involving work of a potentially hazardous nature has been discussed and authorised (FULL RISK ASSESSMENT- sheet in front of the manual) by your LSS and/or your supervisor and this work should be conducted within the hailing distance of another person.
- discussion of out of hours working with both your supervisor and your LSS is encouraged.
- the security of the building and your safety requires that during out of hours working the building is kept locked. THIS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Do not let people into the building unless they can identify themselves as members of staff.
5:1:6 Before commencing work, all new staff MUST have a safety induction at which Departmental safety policy is explained, be issued with a safety book and manuals, be given training in Departmental safety procedures.
5:2 Adrian Building Keys
5:2:1 Swipe cards to gain access to the Adrian Building outside of normal working hours and internal keys to the Adrian Building are only issued on the production of a letter of authorisation obtainable from the Departmental Office or Head of Department's Secretary and countersigned by the Laboratory Safety Supervisor of the laboratory in which you are working. There is a £5 returnable deposit to be paid for the card and each key.
5:2:2 In the first instance, you should take your letter of authorisation to the School Office (Room G21) where you will be issued with the internal keys that you require. The School Office will issue you with a further authorisation slip which will allow you to be issued with a swipe card. These are available from Mr N Osman, Estates and Buildings, Fielding Johnson Building between 3.15 and 4.00 pm each day.
5:2:3 Under no circumstances lend your Adrian Building swipe card or keys to anyone else.
5:3 Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Incidents
5:3:1 All accidents and dangerous incidents however trivial MUST in the first instance be reported to the Chief Technician or the DSO. All injuries to persons MUST be recorded using an Accident Form (available in the Chief Technician's Office (301) and must be accessible at all times).
5:3:2 University policy requires that all (non-trivial) accidents and dangerous occurrences be reported by telephone and form to the University Safety Officer (in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995). These forms are available from the Chief Technician and will be filled in by her or her deputy.
5:3:3 In the event of an accident resulting in serious injury or fatality, during normal university hours the Registrar MUST be contacted immediately on 0116 2522419. The Registrar's Office have set procedures covering such events. Out of hours the Control Room at the Security Lodge (internal no. 2023) is manned 24 hours a day Saturday and Sunday and on weekdays between 17.30hr and 08.00hr. This desk carries a list of contact telephone numbers including the Registrar's home number.
5:4 Registration of Visitors, Visiting Workers and Contractors
5:4:1 Visitors should register at the front desk of the Adrian Building before entering the Department. Their host must take full responsibility for their safety and conduct throughout the visit ensuring all safety rules are obeyed when required.
5:4:2 Visiting workers MUST be registered with the Head of Department's Secretary before commencing work. Safety booklet and relevant manuals will be issued and a safety training induction given.
5:4:3 Contractors and service engineers visiting the Department to carry out repairs, maintenance, installations or building work MUST report to the Chief Technician or his deputy before commencing work. He should ensure that a permit to work, form UL/C1 or C2 has been completed either locally or through the University Estates and Services Office and that a Contractors General Code of Practice has also been issued.
5:5 Unattended Running of Apparatus, Equipment and Experiments
5:5:1 Experimental apparatus using electricity, gas, water, compressed air or vacuum may only be left on outside normal hours, even for short periods of less than overnight duration, if it has an official 'please leave on' notice attached to it. These notices are available from the Chief Technician and have on their reverse side instructions regarding their use. Please note that technicians and Security patrols have instructions to turn off apparatus left running outside normal working hours without a notice or with an expired notice. Give a telephone number or details of safe shutdown in case a problem develops.
5:5:2 Electrical apparatus which appears to be over-heating or not functioning properly should be turned off. In the case of a potentially harmful fault in the services (eg over heating fuse-box, water leak etc) during working hours contact the Maintenance Department Fault Reporting line on 2319. Outside working hours ring 2023 or a person named at front of booklet. Discussion with your LSS or DSO regarding unattended running of apparatus, equipment or experiments is encouraged.
5:6 Protective Clothing
5:6:1 Laboratory coats MUST be worn by all members of staff whilst they are working in the laboratory. These MUST be cleaned regularly. As well as being unsightly and un-professional, wearing a dirty lab coat is un-hygienic and could become a potential hazard to your health and safety.
5:6:2 Safety spectacles are freely available from the Chief Technician and MUST be used when eye protection is required.
5:6:3 Safety goggles and face visors are available for use and MUST be used when eye or face protection is required.
5:6:4 Safety goggles and visors SPECIFICALLY for protection against ULTRA-VIOLET radiation are available and MUST be used when using any equipment that emits stray UV radiation.
5:6:5 The wearing of shoes with high heels is not encouraged. Shoes should offer adequate protection to the feet.
5:6:6 Insulated gloves are available both for hot and cold handling procedures. Gloves with elasticated cuffs will prevent spillage of liquids into the gloves and should be used. Disposable gloves used as hand protection against accidental spills MUST NOT be worn outside laboratories. This is to prevent the possible contamination of door handles, lift buttons etc, with toxic chemicals, radioisotopes and other biohazards. Please see the University's Glove Selection Guide for further information.
5:6:7 If gloves are required to transport items between laboratories a clean container should be used making the wearing of gloves unnecessary. In certain circumstances, one glove may be worn whilst the ungloved hand is used to open doors etc.
5:6:8 Exposure to latex can cause a number of health problems including skin irritation and allergic reactions. These are caused by reactions to extractable proteins and/or chemical additives in the latex. Powder used to facilitate donning and removal of latex gloves poses an additional risk because allergenic substances can leach into the powder. This can become airborne and may lead to respiratory sensitization. The use of powdered latex gloves is prohibited and where possible, non-latex alternatives should be used. Those with known allergies, asthma or sensitive skin conditions should consider avoiding latex altogether. Guidance on the use of latex gloves is covered by the free HSE Leaflet "Latex and You" ISBN 07176 1777 7, available from University Safety Services Office.
5:6:9 Lab coats MUST NOT be worn in the Departmental Offices 329A.
5:6:10 Lab coats for visitors are available from the Chief Technician.
5:7 Storage and Consumption of Food and Drink
5:7:1 The consumption of food and drink in laboratories is PROHIBITED.
5:7:2 The storage of food and drink in laboratories is PROHIBITED.
5:7:3 Food may be stored in the fridge in the kitchenette Room 341b. The Reading Room 328 may be used for eating and drinking. The School Common Room is Room 128. Lab coats MUST NOT be worn in these rooms.
5:8:1 NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED in any area of the Adrian building. A breach in the regulations may cause the fire alarm system to operate.
5:9 Falls, Floors and Corridors
5:9:1 Reduce the risks of falls by wearing sensible non-slip footwear and keeping laboratory and corridor floors clean, dry and free from obstruction. Clear any spills immediately and do not obstruct corridors by abandoning trolleys etc. in them.
5:9:2 Do not run through laboratories and along corridors. You could easily collide with someone coming the other way carrying something nasty. Take particular care when passing through doorways.
5:9:3 To be effective, fire doors have to be closed so do not wedge fire doors open. However, the majority of fire doors have been fitted with magnetic door retainers. Doors remain open until 2200 hrs each night unless the fire alarm is sounded when they will automatically close. They can be released manually be pressing the black button on the underside of the box.
5:9:4 Any faulty flooring or lighting should be reported immediately it is found to the Chief Technician to enable repairs to be carried out as soon as possible.
5:10 Solid Carbon Dioxide (Cardice) and Liquid Nitrogen
5:10:1 Solid Carbon dioxide is intensely cold (-78oC.) and will cause severe burns if it comes in contact with the skin. It is also constantly evolving Carbon dioxide gas so there is a danger of asphyxiation if it is used in unventilated areas. For this reason do not store or use it in the cold room or one of the other controlled temperature rooms as these are virtually airtight boxes with very little ventilation.
5:10:2 Always wear insulated gloves when handling it and always use it in a well ventilated area. Never pack it in gastight containers.
5:10:3 The same hazards are present with liquid nitrogen but to a greater degree as it is far colder and the rate of gas evolution is far higher so great care is required when handling this material.
5:10:4 There is a regular supply of liquid nitrogen to the department. It must be collected in the special stainless steel Dewar kept for the purpose. Do not use an ordinary thermos flask. Safety glasses and insulated gloves must be worn when collecting and handling this material. (See Tony Wardle for general advice).
5:10:5 Do not travel in a lift or any vehicle with liquid nitrogen because in the case of a breakdown, spillage or container failure, the risk of suffocation is very serious.
5:10:6 Always use liquid nitrogen in a well ventilated area.
5:11 Lifting And Moving Equipment
5:11:1 The University's published Guidance Notes "Lifting and Handling" which can be found in the Chief Technician's office, offers valuable advice and should be consulted. Some guidelines are listed below.
5:11:2 In lifting or moving equipment, plan a method which will involve the least amount of effort. Make an assessment of the task. A written assessment will have to be made if the lifting or moving is going to occur on a regular basis. Will you need help? Will you need special equipment? e.g. trolleys, skates, pallet truck etc. Check out the route. Is the final destination clear of obstruction?
5:11:3 Be aware of your own limitations, never attempt to lift or move anything you cannot safely manage.
5:11:4 Be aware of the nature of the article to be lifted e.g. unwieldy items like ladders or half empty liquid containers, the liquid slops about thus altering the weight distribution. Give yourself plenty of room.
5:11:5 Protect areas of your body likely to be damaged e.g. wear gloves against possible splinters. Keep sleeves rolled down, ensure that corrosive materials are securely lidded or stoppered.
5:11:6 Never lift with a bent back. When lifting from a low position, always bend the knees, keep the back as straight as practicable, thus using the powerful leg muscles to lift from a crouching position.
5:11:7 If you cannot manage on your own, get help.
5:12:1 Only carry items that you can safely manage.
5:12:2 Large and/or heavy items must be carried using the appropriate equipment e.g. use a trolley or a sack barrow, gas cylinders in the cylinder trolley.
5:12:3 Winchester bottles must be carried in a Winchester carrier. Glassware should be transported on a trolley.
5:12:4 Packing cases and boxes are often secured using metal strapping. This has very sharp edges. Never lift using the strapping as this could cause cuts and if it breaks could cause the case or box to fall injuring the feet or toes. Be aware of protruding nails and splinters of wood. Use gloves.
5:13:1 Key points for expectant mothers and for those planning pregnancy are:
i. As soon as possible confidentially inform the head of department, via the Chief Technician if appropriate, with an accompanying written notification from your GP or midwife.
ii. Carry out a risk assessment relating to your departmental duties. This assessment may change during the course of the pregnancy and again if the baby is breast fed. The Risk Assessment must be checked by the LSS.
iii. Exposure to the following physical factors demands extra caution when pregnant:
- Vibration and bumps (shocks) ie when riding in a vehicle.
- Lifting and handling loads.
- Ionising radiation i.e. in isotope work.
- Extremes of cold and heat.
iv. Take extra care or avoid exposure to chemicals that may act as toxins especially cytotoxins, teratogens or abortificants, particularly if they can be absorbed through the skin. These can include common pesticides. Check the hazard sheets relating to any chemicals you use. If need be ask your LSS or DSO.
5:13:2 Biological hazards to pregnancy should not be met with while working in the Biology Department. Treat microbial cultures and contaminants as described in section 24. The E. coli strains used in plant molecular genetics are disabled and unlikely to grow away from culture media.