SAFETYLINE 29

H & S UPDATE MAY 2003

We’ve received a report of a 1 litre Duran bottle containing around 300 ml of an agarose solution in a Tris acetate buffer exploding inside a microwave oven during heating. The bottle shattered and the oven was distorted and fragmented, some parts being thrown 3 metres in to the laboratory. Nobody was in the laboratory at the time but the sound was heard in adjacent rooms. It is thought the explosion was caused by a seal in the cap expanding on heating thus sealing the lid, which had been loosened before placing in the oven. No caps should be left on bottles being heated in microwave ovens.

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

Marigold Industrial has launched a new chemical resistant glove claimed to protect against organic solvents and oil-based chemicals. The polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) G60R glove is said to be comfortable to wear with a cotton liner and protects against substances such as keytones, MEK, dichloromethane and toluene, and is resistant to abrasion. The glove complies with EN374 protection against chemicals and micro organisms and EN 388 against mechanical hazards.

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

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

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

Liverpool University report that a Force 16 micro-centrifuge rotor disintegrated while in use, ejecting debris but fortunately no one was injured. The centrifuge was purchased 6 years ago and, when contacted, the manufacturer stated that the rotor of this model was the focus of a product recall in 1997/98, but as the product line was sold to another company in 1999 they cannot repair or replace the centrifuge. In light of the above Force 16 centrifuges of similar age should be withdrawn from service.

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

The Department of Transport is considering making it a specific offence to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, and it is suggested that it will be considered an “aggravating feature” in an accident and is likely to carry a sentence of five years for the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. The offence would be extended to employers who cause or permit their employees to use hand-held phones while driving. Transgressions would include using phones at traffic lights, in a traffic jam, in slow-moving traffic, to communicate by text or even to say  “I’m just pulling over to answer your call”. However, use of hands-free devices will be permitted but discouraged. Watch this space!

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess the risks in their workplace that might harm employees and to do what is reasonably practicable to control those risks. Where women of childbearing age are employed, the risk assessment must include risks specific to new and expectant mothers. This is irrespective of whether an employer knows that they have a new or expectant mother working for them. The sort of hazards that should be considered are physical, biological and chemical agents, work processes and working conditions.

When an employer has been told in writing that a worker is pregnant, has given birth within the previous 6 months or is breast-feeding, then the employer should consider removing any hazard to her that has been identified or prevent exposure to it. Where this is not feasible the risk of exposure should be controlled. If however, there is still a significant risk to the safety or health of a new or expectant mother at her work – a risk that goes beyond the level of expected risk outside the workplace – then the employer should further steps to remove her from the risk. Further information can be found on www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/mothers.htm

                                         ------------------------------------------------------------------

Three of the five large buildings on campus, which had no fire detection and alarm systems, have now had such systems installed and the remaining two should have new systems installed within the next 6 months. All our larger buildings will then have the means to warn occupants without having to call the Emergency Control Centre to activate the alarm, although they should still be contacted to summon the Fire Service. Obsolete 240-volt panels on smaller fire alarm systems are also in the process of being replaced to enable departments to test those systems safely.

 


| Safetyline Index |

| Safety Services | | Facilities Management Directorate |


This information has been provided by b.a.coddington@sheffield.ac.uk,
© The University of Sheffield