SAFETYLINE 27

H & S UPDATE APRIL 2003

Sample generic risk assessments for various items of workshop equipment, Class 3 lasers, handling liquid Nitrogen, use of centrifuges and for the safe operation of 5 types of mechanical workshop equipment can now be found on the Safety Services web pages by pressing the “Risk Assessment” button. These are to assist you to produce assessments suitable for your individual departments, as some controls listed may not be relevant and you may have controls in place that are not listed here. A blank risk assessment form is also available. DSEAR information can now also be found on the Guidance pages.                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------

Safety Notices & Device Alerts received from the NHS: -

1.      Beldico Y-Can Intravenous Cannula, radio opaque – leakage from the cannula and body of the Y-Can, which could have serious patient consequences.

2.      Ultraviolet (UV) Phototherapy cabinets – injury to patient who fainted during session and was severely lacerated when he fell against and broke tubes. Contact manufacturer for available guarding options.

3.      Endofit Endoluminal Aortic Stent Graft – risk of complications during stent-graft deployment with loading cartridge into introducer sheath and/or graft misplacement.

4.      Baxter Blood Giving/Solution Administration sets C2071B/C2071 – Flow regulation/ failure to shut off White Roller Clamp.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Safety Services on 26198.                                   ------------------------------------------------------------------

The Health & Safety Commission (HSC) decision against a specific legal duty for employers to investigate accidents and near misses follows a study that found a “widespread lack of confidence” in how to carry out an investigation, and as such the HSC propose issuing guidance later in 2003.                                     ------------------------------------------------------------------

HSE is encouraging the voluntary withdrawal from sale of nuisance dust masks, (aka “comfort masks” or hygiene masks), as they should only be used when dusts are not hazardous to health, as they provide little or no protection against fine dusts, welding fumes, asbestos, fine sand, paint spray, gases, vapours, aerosols, antibiotic dusts, proteolytic enzymes and mould spores. They must not be used for substances with Maximum Exposure Limits (MEL) under the CoSHH Regulations, e.g. grain dust, flour dust, hard or softwood dust, wool process dust and fumes from rosin-based solder flux, as exposure to these substances must be reduced as much as possible. Use approved CE-marked disposable respirators only.                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------

Research by HSE has looked into the effects of medication prescribed for anxiety and depression, including serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (e.g. Prozac or Seroxat), benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium or Ativan), and other antidepressant or antimanic pharmaceuticals. These drugs have known side effects that can include further anxiety, sleep disruption, tiredness, fatigue, nausea and headaches and sufferers have described a wide range of accidents and near misses believed to be due to taking such medication. Those taking such medication should be aware of the potential for the drugs affecting their performance and should seek further advice from their doctors or assistance where they believe their work could endanger others.                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------

Alpha Laboratories are selling cryovials they claim can be used in liquid Nitrogen because they have overcome the problem of liquid entry into the vials in the liquid phase. The catalogue does not state the vials can only be used in the gas phase but the manufacturers web-site states repeatedly states - “designed for the storage of biological, human or animal cells at temperatures as low as –196oC but should only be used in the gas phase”.                                     ------------------------------------------------------------------


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This information has been provided by b.a.coddington@sheffield.ac.uk,
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