SAFETYLINE 8

Health & Safety Update - August 2001- White Rose Day issue

The HSE reported on their inspections of GM facilities and research in 5 University departments in June. They re-emphasised the advice and legal interpretation they gave us at the time of the visit to improve project documentation for the Government’s Advisory Committee for Genetic Modification. The report is a positive indication of the hard work going in this research area to ensure standards are being met and that people and the environment are protected.

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The University has purchased the Technical Index package of web-based health, safety and construction information for all departments to replace the Barbour Index Health & Safety and Construction packages. We have also purchased access to the entire range of BS standards, these can be accessed on-line. Addresses are http://www.info4education.com and http://bsonline.techindex.co.uk respectively, the User Name being "sheffieldun" and the Password "western" for both.

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Rosin based solders. Rosin is coming under scrutiny because of the risk of sensitisation of individuals who work with it. Non-rosin based solders are available but do not have the same flow characteristics as rosin based solders, so replacement at this time may not be appropriate. However, it is important that those using rosin based solders work with LEV systems to minimise the exposure to fumes created during soldering. Apparently there is international commitment to replacing lead in solders, and that epoxy-based substances are being developed.

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Steam Sterilisation indicators for autoclaves. The BS standard for these have changed recently and existing stocks conforming to BS 7720 should not be used beyond their expiry date. After September 14th buy only packs conforming to BS EN 867:2001, Part 4, and use according to the manufacturers instructions.

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Latest figures show that around 400 people are killed annually in the UK by work activities and more than a million people are injured. As well as a huge cost in terms of misery and suffering, these accidents result in a £18 billion loss to the British economy.

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We may already have seen the end of the summer, but in case it returns, remember that the sun can burn unprotected skin very quickly at this time of the year. Make sure you are adequately protected if you work outdoors, by wearing a hat and lightweight clothing or using suncreams with high protection factors to cover all exposed skin. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. ------------------------------------------------------------------

Some months ago the Public Health Laboratory Service circulated a letter which, in effect asks all laboratories to check to see whether they have any stocks of Polioviruses or potentially infectious material. The ultimate goal is destruction of all unwanted material or transfer to a WHO containment facilities. Those wishing to continue work with polioviruses must eventually upgrade their facilities to BSL-3 and then BSL-4.

It appears that the HSE intends to send a comprehensive questionnaire to all laboratories and I understand that the level of detail they seek is significant with searches required of all fridges, freezers and Nitrogen stores. It appears that they are looking for details on research faecal, respiratory and other unfixed sources of material and their place of collection. More information can be found on http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5029a2.htm

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The Transportable Pressure Vessels Regulations 2001 came into force on 1st July. They cover the testing and inspection of cylinders and tanks used for the transport of gases; the appointment of National Bodies to carry out inspection and approval of such equipment; and the mutual recognition of approvals and marks issued by inspecting bodies so that such equipment will have free circulation in the Community market. I don’t think they affect our activities.

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Recall of Dell Inspiron 5000 (I5000) laptop batteries – see http://support.dell.com/I5000Battery/


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