Hepatitis B. The Public Health Laboratory Service has revised its protocol for pre-exposure Hepatitis B vaccination and follow up. Individuals who have had a primary course of hepatitis B vaccine and who then generate antibody levels > 10 miu/ml have long-term immunity and booster doses are unnecessary. Individuals at exceptionally high-risk may require a single booster five years after the primary course. A booster should be given at times of significant exposure. Contact the Occupational Health Unit if you need more information.


The health and safety auditing system is being revised to make it more manageable. Departments will be divided in to 2 Types, rather than 3, with the self-audits done annually as at present, Type 1 departments (of which there will be around 20) audited every 2 years, and Type 2 departments audited randomly on the basis of 8 to 10 per year. Typing will be on the basis of risk and complexity of management rather than department size.


The HSE website has a draft of the 2nd Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELV) Directive that proposes limits on the levels of 26 chemicals to which people may be exposed in the workplace. HSE invite comments on the reasonable practicality of implementing the Directive. Website address -


The Health and Safety Code of Practice has now been revised, Part 2 contains new sections on Managing Contractors, Lone working and Asbestos. The Out-of-Hours Policy has also been revised to incorporate a section on authorising visitors. Part 1 is still in the consultation stage. Watch this space!


Fire Extinguisher Warning one particular type of water extinguisher is causing operational problems so we are replacing them as quickly as possible. We recommend that in the event of fire dont try to fight it but evacuate the building and contact the Fire Service. If you intend to use an extinguisher to try to extinguish a fire, then test the extinguisher away from the blaze to ensure it works satisfactorily before approaching the fire to try to put it out.


Blue Silica gel, frequently found as a desiccant or breathers on transformers, contains the dye cobalt chloride - now classed as carcinogenic. You should now review CoSHH assessments where Silica gel is used. The main risks are inhalation or ingestion of air-borne particles if handled in loose or dried out in cartridge form. It is possible to replace silica gel with an alternative indicator e.g. Envirogel. Control measures when handling silica gel are:-

  • Prohibit eating/drinking/smoking in work areas
  • Designation of areas to prevent access to unauthorised personnel
  • Safe disposal in sealed bags as special waste
  • Use the correct PPE PVC gloves, P2 respirator, and safety glasses


A student from Leyland at Preston College has received a 2 month jail sentence for maliciously setting off a fire alarm in which a wheelchair bound student was injured during the ensuing evacuation crush. The Magistrate stated " the offence was carried out in a fit of temper with little regard for the consequences. Your actions resulted in the injury to a disabled and vulnerable person." From


Pregnancy and risk assessment based on HSE advice we should CoSHH assess substances on the assumption that female workers could be pregnant, and ensure control measures provide suitable protection for pregnant workers. Other risk assessments will need to be revised in the event a worker is pregnant.

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