The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH, updated 2002) require the use of chemicals in the workplace to be controlled. If it is not reasonable or practical to prevent the use of a chemical the agent involved should be the least harmful that the nature of the activity will permit. Furthermore, any potential hazards associated with the chemical and any control measures required must be identified using a COSHH form - available below
It is strongly recommended that you attend the course “COSHH Risk Assessment in Laboratories” (HS005) run by OHSD through CAPD before you complete the risk assessment and start any work.
COSHH risk assessment
Completing part 2 of this form will be of key importance. In order to do this:
- Visit the website www.sigmaaldrich.com
- Type in the chemical name in the search bar
- Click on MSDS next to the corresponding chemical in the search results
- Note the hazards - look for the 'H' and 'P' terms and pictograms
- Complete them on to the RA form
- Complete the rest of the RA
- Print a copy and keep it on file
- You should update the form when an experimental protocol changes
Transport of Winchesters of solvents
- It is generally unadvisable to transport chemicals.
- Where transport is necessary you must carry solvents in Winchesters in a wire carrier. These are available from Joseph Priestly stores but must be returned immediately.
- Where it is necessary (e.g. between department buildings) chemicals should be sealed and placed into suitable sealed secure containers. A suitable clean up kit should be taken.
The process for removing large quantities of chemicals during a laboratory clearance is:
- Complete the OHSD form
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for disposal
- Chemicals should be boxed and in sealed secure containers
- Avoid transporting chemicals that might react with each other
- The majority of chemicals must not be disposed of down the sink. Where waste is considered non-hazardous because of its concentration, then it may be discharged to drain with copious amounts of running water
- Work should be planned to avoid generation of hazardous waste wherever possible. Where the generation of hazardous waste is unavoidable, and until we can get specific permissions from Thames Water about which chemicals can be discharged to drain, then please follow the Environmental Agency’s guidance on classifying hazardous waste below.
- No strong acids (<pH 6.0; threshold concentration >/= 5% or for those causing severe burns >/= 1%) or corrosive substances(similar pH limits and thresholds) are allowed to be discharged to drain
- The definitions and hazardous thresholds for each of the key Risk Phrases are given below, with further detail to be found within the ‘Interpretation of the definition and classification of hazardous waste’ guide.
- Please note also that hazardous waste should not be diluted with large volumes of water to reduce the concentration and therefore change its classification to non-hazardous.
- If the concentrations exceed the threshold values for the category of substance, then the waste may have to be disposed of via a specified disposal route and cannot be discharged to drain.
- Once a volume is accumulated it must be prepared for transportation to JP stores ready for collection by an external company.
|UK Red List/EU Waste Directives Substances||The following substances are listed in EU Directives or the 'UK Red-List' and are considered to be dangerous if they are discharged to water.|
|Metals and their compounds, substances which are similar to metals||Aluminium
Mercury & its compounds
DDT / DDD / DDE
1,2 - Dichloroethane
Gamma - hexachlorocyclohexane
Nonyl phenol Ethoxylate
Any other organohalogen compounds and substances which may form these compounds.
|Organophosphorus or Organonitrogen pesticides||Azinophos - ethyl
Azinophos - methyl
Any other organophosphorus compounds
|Organotin compounds||Tributyltin compounds||Triphenyltin compounds||Any other organotin compound|
|2,4 D-ester/non-ester Atrazine
Any other biocides or their derivatives
Mineral oils, vegetable oils, and hydrocarbons
Hydrocarbon solvents (benzene, xylene, toluene)
Ammonia (and any compounds or derivatives)
Surface Active Agents (detergents)
|Substances which are toxic (sulphide)
Substances which can cause cancer, mutations or other defects in or through the aquatic environment
Inorganic compounds of phosphorus and elemental phosphorus
Inorganic acids/alkalis (hydrochloric acid, Sodium hydroxide)
|Substances which can affect the taste or smell of groundwater and compounds which cause these substances to form in groundwater making it unfit to drink|
The following procedure for handling and use of CWC chemicals must be implemented at all times:
- A risk assessment must be completed.
- Request authorised person to grant access to storage area.
- Sign out the chemical and how much you intend to use- in an audit book stored locally with the chemicals.
- Return chemical immediately after use and confirm return in book by signing chemical back in.
- Do you need access outside working hours? You must notify an authorised person to sign out a key to you. This will be your responsibility up to the point the key is returned.
Schedule 3 chemicals:
|Phosgene: Carbonyl dichloride||(75-44-5)|
- Information on handling and storage of Schedule 3 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) listed compounds [DOC 43KB] (docx)
- Further details can be found in the Chemical Weapons Convention guidance
Liquid nitrogen is a colourless, odourless liquid with a boiling point of -196 °C.
There is a store of liquid nitrogen on the 4th floor of the G.E. Fogg building. You must not take liquid nitrogen without prior training (email: email@example.com).
- Download the liquid nitrogen procedure [DOC 101KB] - all users must read this before using liquid nitrogen
Liquid nitrogen is an odourless gas that rapidly evaporates to a much larger volume of gas that is heavier than air. In an enclosed space this will displace the oxygen present causing asphyxiation.
At low oxygen concentrations unconsciousness and death may occur in seconds and without warning.
2 Cryogenic burns and frostbite:
Caused by touching a metal surface that has been in contact with liquid nitrogen. Touching the surface will cause the skin to stick and the flesh will tear when you attempt to withdraw away from it.
3 Soft material breakage:
Soft materials such as plastics and rubber may become brittle and break causing spills and presenting a hazard. Be aware of the limits of your containment vessels and the materials that make them.
Also, be aware of the amount of pressure that can build up in screw top vials when freezing samples.
Personal protective equipment (PPE):
It should be remembered that PPE is not designed to withstand immersion in, or prolonged contact with, cryogenic liquids.
Splashing should be regarded as likely during any pouring operation. The PPE options are:
- Gloves (insulated)
- Lab coat
- Full face visor
Handling, storage and use:
1 Pouring into a dewar:
- Always pour the LN into a receiving container slowly to prevent splashing and cool it down gradually
- The container should always be vented to the atmosphere
- High concentrations of oxygen and/or nitrogen should not be allowed to build up
2 Venting mechanism on personal dewars:
The ability to vent should be checked periodically. If you are not confident doing so yourself then seek technical assistance. **Never do this alone**
Under NO circumstances shall the Dewar’s default mechanism for opening and shutting be altered.
Transportation of liquid nitrogen:
- Transporting LN in a lift must be carried out by two people.
- Do not enter the lift with cold gases/liquid gases; there is a risk of asphyxiation in all enclosed spaces.
- Where possible an override key must be used to stop any unauthorised entry into the lift as the LN is being transported.
Disposal of unused liquid nitrogen:
Allow the liquid nitrogen to sublimate to the atmosphere in a well-ventilated area where no build up of nitrogen gas can occur.
Dry ice is solidified carbon dioxide (CO2).
Dry ice is stored besides stores in the Joseph Priestley (JP) building - on the first floor.
Solid CO2 sublimates releasing CO2 vapour. CO2 vapour is substantially heavier than air.
In confined, poorly ventilated spaces, it can displace air, causing asphyxiation.
2 Causes frostbite/burns:
Dry ice is solid at -79 °C. Direct contact with the skin will cause frostbite within seconds of contact.
Frostbite is a freezing injury resembling a burn.
Personal protective equipment (PPE):
Always wear insulated gloves, safety glasses and a lab coat.
Handling, storage and use:
Use only specified equipment which is suitable for the storage or transportation of dry ice.
- *Avoid contact with skin and eyes*
- Never handle dry ice with your bare hands.
- Always wear insulated gloves, safety glasses and a lab coat.
- Do not put dry ice in your mouth or otherwise ingest it.
- If dry ice is accidentally ingested, it can cause severe internal injury.
- Never store dry ice in glass or other sealed (air-tight) containers or coolers.
- Do not use dry ice in confined areas. Dry ice releases heavy carbon dioxide vapour that can cause rapid suffocation.
Transportation of dry ice:
Always carry Carbon Dioxide (solid) Safety Data Sheet in the cab or driver's compartment of any vehicle carrying significant quantities of dry ice.
Disposal of unused dry ice:
Always ensure that there is adequate ventilation during transportation.
- Do not attempt to dump unused dry ice.
- Allow the dry ice to sublimate to the atmosphere in a well-ventilated area where no build up of carbon dioxide vapour can occur.
- Do not dispose of dry ice in sewers, sinks, or toilets. The extreme cold will harm sink disposals, toilet parts, and pipes.
- Do not dispose of dry ice in garbage receptacles or garbage chutes.
- Do not dispose of dry ice in areas accessible to the general public.
Compressed gas cylinders
There are a wide variety of compressed gas cylinders, supplied by BOC, throughout SBCS. Where possible, the gas should cylinder should be stored externally to the building and piped in. Where this is not possible, a cylinder can be located in a laboratory area that is:
- Well ventilated
- Secured to a laboratory
- Has been inspected by both BOC and an appropriate member of the SBCS health and safety team.
Under no circumstances should an individual member of SBCS be manoeuvring gas cylinders. This is to be done by BOC staff only.
For assistance please contact QMUL@BOC.com
No radioactive work is currently carried out within the School.
For any advice please contact the SBCS radioactivity safety officer Steve Pestaille (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
For further advice on anything covered on this page contact the SBCS Health and Safety coordinator: email@example.com