Responsibilities of laboratory managers for ensuring health and safety in the laboratory
- The manager must appoint a health and safety officer (HSO) who can identify hazard and assess risk and who has the authority to enforce health and safety measures to minimise the risk.
- Must allocate adequate time and resources to health and safety.
- Must ensure employees and HSO are adequately and appropriately trained and issued with standard operating procedures (SOP) for the laboratory Must ensure all employees are informed of hazards and where they are located.
- Ensure Record of Corporate Risk (COSH) is maintained.
- Ensure Record of Accidents and Injuries are maintained, accurate and accessible.
- Ensure response to accidents are appropriate e.g. decontamination , first aid ,referral to accident and emergency.
- Ensure members of the public, visitors to laboratory and contractors are not exposed to risk.
- Ensure risk assessment is reviewed regularly (at least annually or when practice changes or in response to an accident).
Responsibilities of the health and safety officer in the laboratory
- Ensure hazards in the workplace are identified
- Assess risk rating for each hazard
- Determine optimum exposure limit or maximum exposure limits for each hazard
- Reduce risk of injury or ill health arising from the hazards by adopting one or more of the following measures:
- Elimination of a hazard i.e. removal of substance from workplace
- Substitution e.g. using less hazardous chemicals
- Control e.g. limit use, reduce emission, provide ventilation etc.
- Authorisation of specific trained individual who can use the substance
- Provision of personal protective equipment
- Issuing all employees with Record of Corporate Risk (list of all potential hazards in laboratory and record of action taken against those risks)
- Maintain Incident book of any accident or injury or dangerous occurrences
- Be abe to administer first air and respond appropriately to hazard or injury
- Ensure visitors or contractors or members of public are not exposed to risk
- Monitor policy and procedure to ensure implementation of health and safety rules Review and update if necessary
Untoward incident book
This is a vital responsibility for all of those working in the lab.
It should contain the following information
- The date, time, place and name of the people involved (including witnesses) and brief description of any events involving the death or major injury of a person working on site or a member of public.
- Details of injuries at work requiring the person to be absent from work for longer then 3 days
- Details of all diseases or illnesses which could be attributed to pathogen in the workplace
- Information about dangerous occurrences including ‘near misses’ such as accidental release of any pathogen, accidental spill of acid or accidental needle stick injury
- A copy of the signed report should be presented to the injured person