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College of Natural Sciences Health and Safety Services

Safety in Laboratories and Workshops

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There are numerous laboratories within CNS used for teaching and a variety of research disciplines. The potential dangers present will vary between laboratories but there are some common hazards found in most laboratories that you should look out for, and general guidelines on reducing the risks associated with working in laboratories can be found under the various sections of this Health and Safety Website.

A Risk Assessment must be carried out prior to commencing any activity and if the work involves any hazardous substances a COSHH Assessment will also be needed. Advice and guidance on Risk and COSHH Assessments can be found here.

However, remember you must communicate the key findings of your Risk and COSHH Assessments to everyone that may be affected by any significant hazards identified. The following will explain why this is so important.

Consider a situation in which you share a laboratory.  You store some samples on your lab bench that contain small amounts of hazardous chemicals. Whilst you are away a colleague accidently knocks some off the bench and the containers smash. Unless you have labeled your samples appropriately and made your co-workers aware of the hazards associated with your work and the measures needed to mitigate the risks they will not know how to safely deal with the spilt chemicals.