SAFETYLINE 30

H & S UPDATE JUNE 2003

We received a report of an employee injured by a broken glass medicine ampoule when emptying a waste bin in an office.  All waste glass should be disposed of in a way that cannot cause injury even if the item subsequently breaks in the waste bin. Containers for placing “sharps” can be obtained from Central Stores in Shepherd Street for individuals needing to dispose of glass ampoules, vials, needles or other sharp items whether in a laboratory or office.

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The interior of a flat was severely damaged and the occupant injured when an aerosol can exploded after being left too near a heater in Solihull in February this year. Aerosol cans heated deliberately or accidentally (e.g. by the sun on hot days) can explode violently so keep them away from heat sources.

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Safety Notices & Device Alerts received from the NHS: -

1.      APC Medical External Pacemakers: Models E4162, E4164, E4165, & E4166 – Increase in pacing rate and change in pacing mode without user intervention in certain circumstances.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Safety Services on 26198

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The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (Amendment) Regulations 2003 require uses of substances that can cause genetic damage (so-called category 1 or 2 mutagens) to apply the control measures already required for carcinogens. This affects users of triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC), a mutagen not currently classed as a carcinogen. TGIC is used as a curing agent in powder coatings applied to industrial and household products and also as a solder mask in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. The amendment also defines 17 dioxins as carcinogens.

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New guidance on the safe use and cleaning of solvent degreasing systems has been published by the HSE. Failure to operate and maintain a degreaser properly can result in exposure to high concentrations of organic solvent vapours, which have a narcotic effect and can be fatal. Solvent degreasing should be carried out in an enclosed system, or enclosed as far as is reasonably practicable. Retrofitting an enclosure on a conventional open-topped degreaser can significantly reduce operator exposure and vapour emissions into the workplace if designed, installed and operated correctly. Three guides have been produced: “Safe Use of Solvent Degreasing Plant” (EIS40), “Maintenance and Cleaning of Solvent Degreasing Plant” (EIS20), and “Surface Cleaning: Solvent Update including the reclassification of Trichloroethylene” (EIS34). All are available free of charge from HSE Books, alternatively these guides, and other guidance, can be downloaded free of charge from the HSE web site http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/engindex.htm

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Microflex has developed new vulcanised nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) gloves that have better relaxation properties and more tear-resistance than conventional NBR gloves. They also offer an allergy-free option to natural latex rubber for healthcare workers and those handing chemicals.

Fischer Safety is offering two new chemicals-resistant gloves. The Butyl II glove gives protection from corrosives acids and is suitable for petrochemical workers, the Viton II glove is designed to protect workers who come into contact with aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene.

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You will be aware that the heating system in the university is “switched off” at the end of April, but unfortunately we do sometimes get cold spells in May that can cause discomfort. We realise that many of you use portable heaters in offices and laboratories and ask that you ensure that all such heaters or of an indirect heating type (no exposed elements) and have a controlled heat output that cannot cause fires if left too near combustible materials. They should also be tested to ensure they are electrically safe

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The threat of further strikes by the Fire Brigades Union has reduced, but people should still take care when boiling kettles, cooking, making toast etc. Don’t leave food cooking unattended and don’t wedge fire doors open as these can activate smoke alarms in corridors or rooms. It is likely that the Fire Service will start to charge employers £1000 per false alarm they attend in the near future and we need to “get our house in order” before then to minimise the risk.


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