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Welcome to the Chemistry Safety wiki space!

This wiki is currently being updated (May 2016) - if you have any questions or comments, please contact Robyn Bott (Safety Coordinator).

This wiki collects the health and safety documents and links for staff and students, if you think something is missing or no longer current, please contact us. 

For information on services the Technical Team provides, please visit Technical Services Guide.

Safety Personnel

Dr Robyn Bott Safety Coordinator6919
Mrs Karen Croker Technical Manager3299
Mr Malcolm HolleyFaculty Manager 6727
Prof Chris FrostHead of Department3641
Mrs Debbie Robarts

UHSE Science Safety Adviser

Radiation Adviser

Mr Ewan Basterfield Research Coordinator 3345
Ext. No.

Information from the University Health, Safety and Environment team can be accessed through the Human Resources 'Staying Safe and Well' web-pages, and their Wiki pages 1st Stop for Health & Safety - UHSE - Home.

A leaving procedure has also been introduced (from September 2015) for all researchers (students and staff), the checklist is here.


An induction for new staff, postgraduate students and undergraduate project students is important and should be organised by your line manager or supervisor. If you haven't been assigned an induction session, please contact Robyn Bott to arrange one. You should have an induction before starting any practical work.

You are all asked to do things to cooperate with the department in managing 'health and safety'.  These are the reasons we ask you to do these things.

There is a safety induction checklist and also a general induction checklist.

Please complete and return the safety declaration and Form U.

Health and Safety Handbook

The Department has a handbook for all staff and students. Please complete and return the declaration (section 11 of book).

Emergency Procedures

First Aid: Call x666 (or 01225 38 3999 from a mobile) for a Security First Responder.

If you need the emergency services, call 999 but ALSO CALL SECURITY on 666. This is so they can direct the ambulance when it arrives on campus, so help arrives as quickly as possible.

 Fire: Use a fire call point (red "break glass" boxes) to evacuate the building and phone Security on 666 or 01225 38 3999. Inform them it is a real fire and not a false alarm!

Reporting Incidents and Accidents

Please report all incidents and accidents to the Safety Coordinator/ Technical Team using the form or email.

Incidents are events that cause, or have the potential to cause ("near miss"), injuries to people or damage to property. Examples of 'near misses' are; realising that a fume cupboard isn't working, a small fire that was easily extinguished, noticing a loose paving slab on a University path, etc. By reporting incidents you create a record, which provides evidence that action needs taking to minimise the chance of a more serious incident occurring in the future. Examples of previous incidents.  If you don't report the incident or defect someone may be injured as a result of a delay in remedying it.

If there's a problem in the department please email the Technical Team (Ewan Basterfield, Research Coordinator or Karen Croker, Technical Manager). You may be asked to submit a green button request instead.

If there's a problem but it's not in the department please use the 'green button' on the Estates website.

You can also report incidents directly to University Health, Safety and Environment by emailing

Training and Supervision 

It is the responsibility of the supervisor/ line manager to ensure that provision for training and supervision is made. It is very important that we ensure we provide correct information, instructions and training, and don't allow people to pass on bad habits or incorrect information.

UHSE have online training through Moodle for fire safety and invacuation. This should appear automatically on your Moodle course list page.

Type of Training
GMO (GMP)Karen Croker
Gas CylindersRussel Barlow
Hazardous WasteRussel Barlow

Display Screen Equipment/ Workstations

The set-up of your desk is self-assessed; if you have any problems (aches and pains, made worse by sitting at your computer) please contact the safety coordinator. The self-assessment is here: DSE.     

For more information on desk/ workstation set-up, and problems that can occur, please go to the UHSE Wiki here.

Risk and COSHH Assessments

A key part of Safety is Risk Assessment - for every procedure that takes place, an appropriate Risk Assessment and/ or COSHH form must be completed. If you have any questions it is a good idea to contact the safety coordinator.

Lab work involving hazardous materials needs to be COSHH assessed. Please ask if you need advice. 

Please complete a COSHH form before you start your experiment.

The safety data sheets, (M)SDS, will indicate the hazard phrases and if the material has an exposure limit. EH40 contains a full list of Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs), the table of materials is from page 11 onwards.

High risk chemicals. If you are working with any compounds classed as group D or E (from COSHH Essentials), please register with the safety coordinator as this use needs to be included on your health records. You may also require some additional checks on your assessment.

The HSE website has information on COSHH; HSG97 Guide to COSHH and the full COSHH Regulations.

Unattended Experiments. If you have a reaction or experimental equipment that you need to leave running while you are not present (e.g., overnight reactions), please complete the operational information form. Post a copy somewhere near your reaction, so if there is an emergency, it is obvious how to shut down the experiment. A summary of current overnight reactions on the main lab door is also useful.

Recently, an overnight reaction was improperly secured so the condenser tubing came off. The water then flooded the fume cupboard of the lab, and a significantly larger part of the lab downstairs (various bits of equipment had to be dried and tested for electrical safety, and work delayed to clean up the water). Security found the source of the water and turned off the tap, but failed to turn off the isomantle/ heater - which could have resulted in a fire. This is why we ask you to post shut-down procedures or contact details - the security team are not chemists and don't know what the "hidden" hazards are. Please be responsible.


Generic Risk Assessments

These assessments are used as a FOUNDATION for your process-specific risk assessments. If you need advice or help, please ask.

Acid and Base Baths - May 2016

Ethidium Bromide


Biological Waste Disposal


Drying Ovens

Expectant and New Mothers

Gas Cylinders

GM Glasshouses

Hazardous Waste

Hydrogen Cylinders

Liquid Nitrogen

Lone Working

Manual Handling

Nitrous Oxide Gas Cylinders


Solvent Stores

Teaching Labs B&B

Teaching Labs Chemistry

Temperature Controlled Room

Working when Pregnant


Young People (age 16-18)

For work with genetically modified plants, organisms, etc. there is a separate wiki, with the risk assessment document here: GMO For information on work with GMO, please visit the Introduction to the GM Wiki

Risk Assessment Sign-off sheet (attach to risk assessment documents as record) 

UHSE Risk Assessment template

Risk Assessment template with basic COSHH.

Medical Conditions and Health Surveillance

If you have or develop a medical condition (acute or chronic, mental or physical health) that may impact on your work at the University, please let us know as you may require a personal risk assessment. This will involve a brief discussion of your requirements, how you are able to work as safely as possible, and what adaptations to the workplace or experimental procedures we need to make. Discussions are always in confidence. Student services are able to support students with both short and long-term conditions if required (e.g., scribe to help if writing hand/ arm is injured).

Occupational Health: If you work with any potential sensitisers (e.g., asthmatogens or other specific substances, you need to register on the health surveillance programme (initially a short questionnaire). Additionally, if you work with carcinogens or other similar toxic or health-affecting substances, you may need to have this recorded. Please contact Robyn Bott, Marianne Harkins, or Paul Maggs for more information. 

Welfare and Wellbeing: There are support services available for staff (stress and counselling) and for students, and assistance if you need additional support during your studies.

Mental Health: Mental Health Awareness (University wiki page), also external sites: and

Mobility Impairment: Temporary (e.g., broken ankle) or long term mobility impairment requires a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) to be written.

Useful Information

Hazardous Waste  Good Practice for the 1S Hazardous Waste Store for waste collection from the labs, please contact the technical team:

For advice on waste disposal including hazardous, WEEE (electrical) and recycling, please contact: 

Occupational asthma


Glove safety (they fail!)

Hand-washing and glove donning technique

Working with Lead; HSE guidance and regulations. Also a web article from Hazards magazine.

The  Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) sets the occupational exposure limit for blood lead suspension levels for males and females at 60 and 30ug/dL, respectively. However there is growing scientific evidence that employees’ health is at risk, even where exposure is below these levels, e.g., >40ug/dl, the following health effects have been observed:

  • changes in the blood which might lead to anaemia
  • effects on the nervous system
  • effects on the kidney  
  • altered functioning of the testicles which could lead to infertility

 At  exposures around 30ug/dl, elevated blood pressure in middle-aged males has been reported.  

 Remember there is a cumulative health risk, and following good lab practice will minimise exposure, health surveillance may be required.


Health and Safety Committee

The Department Health and Safety Committee meets several times a year. If you have any safety concerns then please speak to any member of the committee. In the first instance try either Robyn Bott, Marianne Harkins or Kate Remington.

Minutes from meetings:


Still to update:

Out of Hours Working

Electrical safety - extension cables

Placements - 

Field Trips, including trips abroad Fieldtrips

Field Work and Supervised Field Trips - Domestic and Overseas

Please contact the Technical Team if you have any queries, etc.

Field Work

You must have a risk assessment specific to your trip before you leave. Generic RA here, must be made SPECIFIC TO YOUR WORK

For all trips abroad - inform Malcolm Holley (Faculty Technical Manager)

You must have university insurance (Simon Holt,

UCEA guidance on H&S in fieldwork

Field work includes taught student field trips and research field work and may take place in a variety of environments such as the UK countryside, wilderness areas abroad, city or town environments, or visiting people in their homes. Each of these has specific hazards which need to be addressed when planning the work. Adequate control measures will reduce the risk of harm as far as is reasonably practicable.

There is a generic assessment for remote working on the Staying Safe and Well web site which should be used as a starting point for a specific assessment for individual circumstances.

When working away from the university campus, there is a greater possibility of difficulties arising. Unforeseen circumstances may require a dynamic assessment but if there is a thorough contingency plan has been drawn up, this is unlikely to arise.


Stress and Counselling Occupational stress

Outreach and Work Experience Students

Workplace Inspections

Out of Hours Working

Laboratory work

DSE workstations and eye tests

The University policy for prescription eyewear for work use is below: 

Eye Tests and Glasses: Please check with your faculty/department administrator or safety coordinator before submitting any claim for eye tests or glasses. The University will normally reimburse an employee for the cost of a sight test. The University will also contribute up to £45, for single vision glasses, or £80, for bifocals/varifocals, where it is confirmed by the optician that they are needed solely for display screen equipment work. The University will not reimburse employees where glasses are also required for other uses including, but not limited to, reading, driving or watching television.

For safety glasses (where required by a risk assessment in a laboratory or workshop environment) the University will contribute up to £45, single vision CR39 lenses, or up to £80 for bifocals/varifocals lenses. The employee must pay the optician for the sight test and spectacles and then submit a claim, with receipt/invoice, to the University in order to be reimbursed.  

For further guidance please also refer to the Health & Safety Department’s Safety Manual, section 4.1.8 – Display Screen Equipment.  The H&S Dept. Safety Manual no longer exists... check the UHSE Wiki pages.

To claim expenses log in to Agresso. Please see the Agresso website for instructions on how to make a claim.


Medical Conditions


 Manual handling

Departmental Technical Services Guide

Safety policies and local arrangements





  • This wiki is designed to give users important information related to Health and Safety in the Department of Chemistry.
  • It also contains information help users to complete COSHH forms, in particular in relation to common risks and hazards associated with working in the laboratory to be in addition to the specific risks and hazards that may arise from the substances or reactions researchers are working with.


  • The Navigation bar to the left will help to quickly locate the relevant pages.

This wiki is under construction and current information has been imported from the old Health and Safety website - and should be updated soon. (November 2011)


For those who wish to make alterations or additions:

You can get started by clicking the "Edit" button in the top right of the page.

Don't worry about making mistakes, there is a full history of every page so you can go back at any point.


You can find help on how to add pages, add a left-hand menu, or change the appearance of this space.

There is also official documentation and you can email for direct help.

 You can also access Department of Chemistry Internal Communications, which contains more information about Chemistry events and news.