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 important as it concerns general well being 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.Chemical: Everything from cleaning materials, acids, alkalis, oxidizing agents, to laboratory drugs , 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.

Radioactive material or radiation producing devices

Hazardous processes: high voltage, high pressure

*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.


Laboratories Health and Safety                                           Updated on: October 23, 2017