Laboratories Health and Safety

Laboratory Safety
The academic laboratory environment is highly complex and requires support and guidance
information to promote safe work practices and compliance. Our laboratory resources include
process review procedures, equipment resources and checklists, PPE guidance and more.

1. What is Health and Safety?
All KUST staff, faculty, students, visitors and customers are entitled to work in environments
where risks to their health and safety are controlled. Under health and safety policy, the
primary responsibility for this is down to KUST staff, faculty, students, visitors and
customers. They have a duty to consult with their direct supervisor, or their representatives,
on health and safety matters.

2. What do we mean by Health and Safety in the workplace?
Health and Safety is an important policy as it refers to general wellbeing of all KUST staff,
faculty, students, visitors and customers in KUST Laboratories area. It means that everyone
who has direct or indirect contact with KUST laboratories can enjoy freedom from disease,
infirmity or risks and serious injury in KUST Laboratories area.

3. What is a Hazardous Material?
For the purposes of safety plans, this term encompasses:
3.1. Chemicals hazards materials
3.2. Biological hazards materials
3.3. Physical hazards materials
3.4. Radioactive material or radiation producing devices
3.5. Hazardous processes: high voltage, high pressure

3.1.Chemical: Everything from cleaning materials, acids, alkalis, oxidizing agents, to
laboratory drugs (e.g. antibiotics), solvents, and compressed gases. Chemicals may be
toxic, corrosive, flammable, reactive or incompatible with other chemicals, or even
explosive. Exposure to chemical hazards can occur during use or with poor handling,
storage or disposal, and the potential for harm or injury can be significant if they are
misused or mishandled.

3.2.Biological: Causing harmful effects in humans, adversely affecting health. Hazards can include
bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, plants or animals (genetically modified or not), medical waste,
or even foodstuffs, toxic, infectious or allergenic. As above, poor handling, etc. presents the
potential for harm, but biological hazards differ from chemical as certain hazards can pass the
threat from person to person.

3.3.Physical: Encompasses a wide range of hazards. That includes the below:
a. Electrical hazards
b. Ergonomic problems (e.g. poor posture, manual-handling issues such as
     lifting/pushing/pulling objects, repetitive strain from equipment use)
c. Slips/trips/falls or falling objects hazards (associated with poor housekeeping)
d. Use/handling/disposal of sharps
e. Temperature extremes (hot and cold)
f. Excessive/continual noise
g. Poor lighting
h. Mechanical hazards (e.g. using robotic or moving equipment)
i. Vibration
j. Working at (Any work performed at a height of 1.8 m or above)
k. Others such as: Potential for fire, radiation hazards, and dangers from ultraviolet light
    or laser use.

*A further hazard class is sometimes added – psychological hazards created by work-related
stress or a stressful environment.

4. Who needs a Safety Plan?
A safety plan is required for all KUST laboratory and storage areas that use hazardous
materials, hazardous processes and storage of these items. Affected areas include, but are not
limited to machine shops, Facilities Zone Shops, utility and facility chemical storage areas,
agricultural locations (research farms, field labs, and extension locations) and laboratories
(teaching and research).

Regarding workplace health, we must consider how to avoid work-related illness of all types.
Potential biological, chemical or physical origins should be monitored and health screening
carried out where necessary.

5. Intended Use of Safety Plans

5.1. Emergency planning and response
Information is used by emergency response personnel, to communicate information about the
major hazards in the area that may impact emergency response.

Hazardous material information determine both the frequency of laboratory/facility
inspections and if process safety reviews are required.

5.3.Hazard Awareness
The plan acts as a resource for personnel working in an institutional setting to identify
potential hazards.

5.4.Training and Education of Staff
Each safety plan is intended to serve as an instructional tool for all individuals working in an
area, to apprise them of potential hazards, as well as the procedures necessary to foster a safe
work environment. Location-specific hazardous material training is required prior to use of
the area with annual refresher training.