Safetyline 39

H & S UPDATE MARCH 2004

Investigations into two fires at University residences at Manchester, one of which resulted in the loss of the entire room contents, have concluded that inappropriate use of halogen desk lamps caused both fires. The surface temperatures of the bulbs in these lamps exceed 200oC in normal usage, which can ignite paper, paper products or fabrics if left in close proximity to the bulbs. We ask all owners and users of these items to be aware of the potential for fires to be caused by these items and to use them strictly in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

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Further to Safetyline 27 (April 2003), Alpha Laboratories would like to clarify the freezing medium in which their Cryogenic Vials should be used. They state they have never knowingly claimed their vials should be used in the liquid phase of liquid nitrogen. The vials are suitable for use only in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen because immersion in the liquid phase can put your sample and personal safety at risk when the vial is thawed. Usually the vapour phase is sufficient for sample storage. This is now made clear in their 2004 catalogue.

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Over the past month, it has become evident that many of the Oxygen Deficiency Sensing units installed in laboratories containing compressed gases or cryogens are not calibrated correctly and would be unlikely to alarm at 18% oxygen concentration as intended. Crowcon Engineers are currently checking each monitor installed and recalibrating as necessary. The sensors should be able to be triggered by exhaling directly onto the sensor for as long as you can. If they donít trigger please inform Safety Services on 26198  

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The NRPB have recently updated their web site to include a section on Medical Radiation, with surveys of radiology practice, reviews of the national patient dose database and the latest recommended reference doses for X-ray examinations. See www.nrpb.org/ .

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The HSE has recently published the general ACOP for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). It contains extensive guidance on how to comply with the regulations including the factors to consider when doing risk assessments, and how DSEAR fits in with other health and safety law such as CoSHH and the Confined Space Regulations. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, ACOP and Guidance (L138) ISBN 0 7176 2203 7, is available from HSE Books at £15.50. general information on DSEAR can be found on the HSE website on www.hse.gov.uk/spd/dsear.htm .

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Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for views on the service we provide or donít provide, in the Customer Survey I sent out in January. I will reply by e-mail to everyone who responded and we will be actively implementing those proposals that we can do or explain why we canít.

 

 


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