Guidelines for our laboratory

GK Batchelor Laboratory
Laboratory Manual
Issue 2.2c
Date: August 2014
Target: All
This manual is intended as a reference and guide for those undertaking or
supervising research in the GK Batchelor Laboratory. The manual contains
information about the facilities and equipment available within the Laboratory, where
to find help and information, standard procedures, issues relating to Health and Safety,
and guidance for those preparing grant applications for laboratory work.
This manual is available both electronically (from the ‘guidelines’ link at and in hard copy. A paper copy is issued to
everyone working in the Laboratory when they first arrive, with the requirement that
they familiarise themselves with its contents.
Please do not store an electronic copy of this document on your computer: it is
better to download it afresh each time so that you can be sure of accessing the current
version of the document.
Policy summary
In line with the University’s Health and Safety Policy, and the Centre for
Mathematical Sciences Safety Policy (CMS), the GK Batchelor Laboratory aims to
ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all staff,
students and visitors. Where practicable, by seeking appropriate procedures and safety
features, the Laboratory attempts to ensure that the needs of Health and Safety do not
hinder the research needs.
Further details of the Policy may be found in §2.
The manual is reviewed and (if necessary) revised on a yearly basis and at such
other times as changes in facilities or procedures call for, and laboratory users are
expected to be familiar with the most recent issue. Users will be notified when a new
version is issued but will not automatically receive a new hard copy. A history of the
revision is contained in Appendix D.
The manual is subdivided into a number of parts. At the start of each part is a brief
description, including an indication of who should be familiar with the material it
contains. It is important to note that supervisors/PIs/hosts (referred to here collectively
as Supervisors) have a responsibility towards their Researchers (i.e. students/postdocs/
visitors) that requires them to have some familiarity not only with the scientific
aspects of their work but also that the necessary health and safety procedures are being
The intended readership is indicated at the start of each section and is summarised
in the table below.
1 Introduction
2 Policy
3 Health & Safety
4 Research Projects
5 Hazards
6 Hi-risk Facilities
If to be used
If to be used
7 Equipment
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
General background
Policy, responsibilities and staff
Risk Assessment and basic rules
Guidance for preparation of
Principal hazards, procedures
and rules
These facilities will only be
relevant to a subset of
Laboratory users.
Brief details of main items of
equipment held by Laboratory.
Induction check list
Risk Assessment form
Density table
Revision history
Overview .............................................................................................................................. 1
Policy summary ................................................................................................................ 1
Review .............................................................................................................................. 1
Structure............................................................................................................................ 1
Contents................................................................................................................................ 3
1 . Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 5
1.1 Activities..................................................................................................................... 5
1.2 Personnel..................................................................................................................... 6
1.3 Accommodation.......................................................................................................... 7
2 . Policy............................................................................................................................. 10
2.1 Aim ........................................................................................................................... 10
2.2 Responsibilities and duties ....................................................................................... 10
2.3 Specific policies........................................................................................................ 14
3 Health & Safety............................................................................................................... 20
3.1 Induction ................................................................................................................... 21
3.2 Preparation of Risk Assessment ............................................................................... 21
3.3 Maintenance and monitoring .................................................................................... 22
3.4 Ordering, borrowing and receiving equipment......................................................... 22
3.5 Access to Workshop ................................................................................................. 22
3.6 Working after hours.................................................................................................. 22
3.7 Hygiene..................................................................................................................... 23
3.8 Fire............................................................................................................................ 23
3.9 Children .................................................................................................................... 24
3.10 People at risk........................................................................................................... 24
4 . Research Projects .......................................................................................................... 26
4.1 Preparation of proposal............................................................................................. 26
4.2 Detailed planning and setting up .............................................................................. 27
5 . Hazards.......................................................................................................................... 28
5.1 Electrical ................................................................................................................... 29
5.2 Mechanical................................................................................................................ 31
5.3 Chemical ................................................................................................................... 32
5.4 Particles..................................................................................................................... 39
5.5 Biological.................................................................................................................. 41
5.6 Optical....................................................................................................................... 42
5.7 Heat........................................................................................................................... 44
5.8 Pressure..................................................................................................................... 46
5.9 Use outside design specification............................................................................... 47
5.10 Noise ....................................................................................................................... 47
5.11 Breakages................................................................................................................ 48
5.12 Lifting ..................................................................................................................... 48
5.13 Falls and injury ....................................................................................................... 49
5.14 Clutter ..................................................................................................................... 50
5.15 Clothing .................................................................................................................. 50
6 High-risk Facilities.......................................................................................................... 51
6.1 Temperature Controlled Laboratory ......................................................................... 51
6.2 Granular flow chute .................................................................................................. 54
7 . Equipment ..................................................................................................................... 55
7.1 Furniture ................................................................................................................... 55
7.2 Imaging ..................................................................................................................... 55
7.3 Image processing ...................................................................................................... 57
7.4 Instrumentation ......................................................................................................... 57
7.5 Computers................................................................................................................. 60
7.6 Services..................................................................................................................... 62
Appendix A: Induction check list....................................................................................... 64
Appendix B: ....................................................................................................................... 66
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment ..................................................................... 66
Appendix C: Density Table................................................................................................ 74
Appendix D: Revision History........................................................................................... 77
Version 1.0 (May 2003).................................................................................................. 77
Version 1.1 (March 2004)............................................................................................... 77
Version 1.3 (September 2004)........................................................................................ 77
Version 1.4 (February 2005)........................................................................................... 77
Version 1.5 (August 2006) ............................................................................................. 77
Version 1.6 (August 2007) ............................................................................................. 77
Version 1.7 (July 2008) .................................................................................................. 77
Version 1.8 (August 2009) ............................................................................................. 77
Version 2.0 (July 2011) .................................................................................................. 77
Version 2.1 (December 2012)......................................................................................... 77
Version 2.2 (February 2013)........................................................................................... 78
Version 2.2a (October 2013) .......................................................................................... 78
Version 2.2b (January 2014)........................................................................................... 78
Version 2.2c (August 2014)............................................................................................ 78
. Introduction
1. Introduction
Target: General interest
The GK Batchelor Laboratory combines the cultural inheritance of Sir G.I. Taylor
FRS, arguably one of the greatest experimentalists of the twentieth century, with the
vision of G.K. Batchelor, DAMTP’s founding head. Batchelor began his career under
Taylor in the Department of Physics in Cambridge, working closely with
experimentalists as he developed his many theoretical contributions to our
understanding of turbulence. Although he perceived a great need to bring together into
a single department many of those working on the mathematics of a broad range
physical problems, he also recognised the critical role experiments played in such
research and the huge benefits that could be gained by having a constant, daily
interaction between theoretician and experimentalist.
The Fluid Dynamics Laboratory was founded in 1964 as soon as DAMTP moved
into its first permanent home in the old University Press buildings (between Silver
Street and Mill Lane) in 1964. Since that time the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory has
gone from strength to strength. Under its first Director, the late T.B. Benjamin FRS,
the Laboratory soon developed an international reputation for its experimental
research into fundamental fluid dynamics. The subsequent leadership of J.S. Turner
FRS and P.F. Linden FRS, and the world-class research projects undertaken by the
many fluid dynamics research groups in DAMTP, have continued this tradition, giving
the Laboratory a strong international standing. During the late 1980s and 1990s the
Laboratory underwent a number of refurbishments as it gradually expanded to fill the
520m2 available in the basement of the Silver Street site. Despite the refurbishments,
the Laboratory remained plagued by a lack of floor-level drains, cramped conditions
and low crumbling ceilings.
Since the current Director, S.B. Dalziel, took over in 1997 the Laboratory has
undergone its most radical change. The development of the Centre for Mathematical
Sciences in the west of Cambridge led not only to a substantial increase in the office
accommodation available to DAMTP, but also provided the opportunity to construct a
modern purpose-built laboratory with better services and facilities, and more space.
The new Laboratory in CMS, constructed using a combination of charitable donations
and funds raised from two large infrastructure grants, increased the available research
space to approximately 810m2. This new laboratory, the GK Batchelor Laboratory, is
supported by a new and expanded 120m2 workshop. Further funding from a variety of
sources (principally the Newton Trust and Research Councils) has enabled the new
Laboratory to be fitted out with a range of new facilities and enhanced services.
1.1 Activities
The GK Batchelor Laboratory is primarily a research laboratory. Over recent years
the research activities have expanded from a base in geological, geophysical and
environmental fluid dynamics to include industrially motivated problems, biological
fluid dynamics, granular materials, and cellular mechanics. It is anticipated that this
range of interests will continue to grow.
The majority of users of the Laboratory are research students, postdoctoral
research associates/fellows and University Teaching Officers. The Laboratory also
plays host to a steady stream of senior visitors, some of whom return repeatedly to
make use of the facilities available, and by project and summer students. The facilities
are also used from time to time by members of other departments within the
. Introduction
University, short-term exchange students, and Part III students as part of essay
Teaching activities within the Laboratory are more limited, but have been
expanding in recent years. These activities include the annual Geophysical and
Environmental Fluid Dynamics Summer School held each September, and fluid
dynamics demonstration classes for both Part II and Part III students.
1.2 Personnel
One of the keys to the success of the Laboratory is that it has been able to maintain
a critical mass of researchers for the extended period necessary to build up the
necessary level of scientific, technical and practical expertise. This section lists those
who play a central role in the Laboratory and provides some pointers to where their
contribution lies.
1.2.1 Director: Stuart Dalziel
Stuart joined the Laboratory as a PhD student in 1985 and has been there ever since.
He took charge in 1997 and has been responsible for much of the fundraising and
development of the Laboratory on the CMS site. Stuart is a University Teaching
Officer within DAMTP, although with an undergraduate engineering degree has
shown himself to have a wealth of practical and technical knowledge. In addition to
his own research in geophysical, environmental and industrial fluid dynamics, he has a
keen interest in experimental diagnostics and image processing.
Stuart has overall control of the laboratory resources (physical and human), and
should be consulted before any major development. Stuart is willing to discuss all
aspects of work in the laboratory – both scientific and technical – and has an in-depth
knowledge of the resources available within the Laboratory. Stuart is also the
Biological Safety Officer for the Laboratory, and spends much of his time in his office
H.0.11, phone 337911, e-mail .
1.2.2 Senior Technical Officer: Mark Hallworth
Mark has been working in the Laboratory since 1983, much of this time spent working
within the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics (ITG). Although in the past most of his
effort was dedicated to research activities within the ITG, he now plays a similar role
throughout the Laboratory and is willing to lend a hand and offer advice to users of the
Laboratory. Mark’s office is located within the Laboratory in H.L.09, although he may
often be found in H.L.08 H. Mark is also the Safety Officer and Laser Safety Officer
for the Laboratory. Phone 337841, e-mail .
1.2.3 Head Technician: David Page-Croft
David took over as Head Technician in 1996, moving from the Cavendish Laboratory
where he was working on precision manipulators and other items used with electron
microscopes. David adapted rapidly to the change of environment and has taken the
lead in the workshop, transforming many of the techniques and work practices in a
way that have considerably increased the productivity while maintaining the highest
David manages the workshop and most aspects of the day-to-day functioning of
the Laboratory. He is responsible for all ordering of equipment and supplies,
allocating technician time, and designing the equipment in most cases when there is no
suitable off-the-shelf solution. David also liaises closely with external suppliers and
. Introduction
contractors whom we may commission to manufacture all or part of the equipment
David is also a University First Aider and one of the Fire Managers for the CMS
site. David’s office is located just outside the workshop in Pavilion C, but he is often
to be found in the workshop, or around the Laboratory. Phone 337842, e-mail .
1.2.4 Chief Electronics Technician: John Milton
John joined the Laboratory in 2002 and comes from a background with a major optical
component supplier/manufacturer. Although John has not previously worked in a
laboratory like ours, he has worked extensively on projects requiring many
overlapping technologies. John is responsible for the electrical testing of laboratory
equipment and also has some responsibility for the day-to-day maintenance of the
computer network in the Laboratory. John can normally be found in the Electronics
Workshop located within the main workshop in Pavilion C, phone 337828, e-mail .
1.2.5 Instrument Maker: Colin Hitch
Before joining the Laboratory in 2010, Colin worked for many years as an instrument
maker for a Cambridge-based consultancy. He will normally be found in the workshop
in Pavilion C, phone 337840.
1.2.6 Instrument Maker: Paul Mitton
Paul joined the Laboratory in 2014, having spent time working in industry in the UK.
He will normally be found in the workshop in Pavilion C, phone 337840.
1.2.7 Instrument Maker: Andrew Denson
Andrew joined the Laboratory in 2014, having spent most of his career in a similar
role elsewhere in the University. He will normally be found in the workshop in
Pavilion C, phone 337840.
1.3 Accommodation
As a consequence of the modular nature of the CMS development, the GK
Batchelor Laboratory is divided into four separate areas. Each of these areas has been
designed with a different set of characteristics to allow maximum flexibility and
diversity within the Laboratory as a whole. All areas are supplied with the basic
services of electricity (single- and three-phase), and compressed air. Water comes in
multiple flavours: fresh raw, fresh softened, hot and salt water are common throughout
the Laboratory, with the addition of highly-purified water available via a pair of
relocatable Reverse Osmosis units. Non-slip safety flooring and floor-level drains add
to the convenience, while high ceilings (painted black) improve access and
visualisation with larger experiments. Safety features such as individual RCD
(Residual Current Detectors) and emergency knock-down switches are provided for
the electrical circuits, with wide doorways and corridors facilitating the movement of
equipment between different areas. The Laboratory is wired up with category 5
network cabling connected to private Gigabit switches (connected together with
dedicated optical fibres) giving the ultimate in bandwidth.
The Laboratory is situated at the lower ground level of CMS. Lifts within Pavilions
C and H provide disabled access to all areas (except the lower level of the Ambient
. Introduction
Flow Facility), and natural light is used wherever feasible (with blackout blinds
providing the ability to shut it out).
1.3.1 Pavilion A
The Pavilion A Laboratory, with around 170m2 of research space located beneath
the serving area of the main Common Room, is intended to accommodate a range of
bench-top and larger experiments that are not overly sensitive to their surroundings.
The space is subdivided with blackout curtains to allow ready reconfiguration of the
space to house experiments up to four metres in size, with a ceiling height of nearly
five metres. Water is available both around the perimeter and from a series of
manholes beneath the floor, while power poles bring electrical and data outlets to the
interior of the Laboratory. The space is naturally ventilated through a series of vents
and windows controlled by the computerised building management system.
Two of the bays within this space are utilised as service areas, containing the main
store of instrumentation, video, electronic, and electrical equipment. These bays also
contain other standard items such as tubing and retort stands. The only large, relatively
fixed, item of equipment in Pavilion A is a bi-directional flume The working section
of this flume is a channel 2m long with a cross-section 1.20.2m and is capable of
very high flow rates.
1.3.2 Pavilion C
The Pavilion C Laboratory, sitting alongside the workshop, is the smallest of the
components with a useable floor area of approximately 90m2. Part of this space is
dedicated to storage of the Laboratory’s extensive stock of tanks and related
experimental equipment, but the key feature is the 43m Temperature Controlled
Laboratory (TCL; also referred to as the Cold Room) with a working range of 40C
to +30C (see §6.1 for further details).
Alongside the Pavilion C Laboratory is the main chemical store. This is equipped
with a large fume cupboard, shared between the Laboratory and workshop.
Immediately adjacent to this is an emergency drench shower and ‘wash-down area’,
intended for cleaning and testing equipment in conjunction with the workshop.
Pavilion C also provides the main route in for supplies and equipment. A 2 tonne
pillar and jib crane aids access to the lower ground level, with access to the Laboratory
through the workshop store.
1.3.3 Pavilion H
To meet the needs of experiments that are more sensitive to their surroundings, and
the requirements for the use of lasers within the Laboratory, the 220m2 of research
space in the Pavilion H Laboratory is subdivided into five separate smaller rooms.
Each of these spaces is fitted with a higher level of security, door interlock circuits to
manage the use of lasers, mechanical ventilation and comfort cooling, and broad
availability of three-phase power. A small emergency shower is provided to one side
of the broad connecting corridor.
At present, four of the five rooms within Pavilion H are devoted to Biological
Physics. Within this space are wet-labs, preparation areas, growth chambers, a ‘clean
room’ facility and a microscope suite.
1.3.4 Ambient Flow Facility
The Ambient Flow Facility (AFF) was the last area of the Laboratory to gain
funding and the only area where the design was not compromised by the needs of the
. Introduction
building above. Whereas the other three areas had to be designed around the
architecture of the rest of the Pavilions, the AFF is a completely independent and
dedicated laboratory unit. The AFF is also the largest of the areas, providing 330m2 of
usable laboratory space.
The fundamental purpose of the AFF is to house the Laboratory’s largest
experimental installations, providing them with adequate space to obtain top quality
visualisations. Entry to the AFF is at lower ground level, but the AFF extends down a
further level to give around 6.5m headroom over part of the area. The lower level is
open-plan and structure-free, with blackout curtains providing reconfigurable
divisions. A suspended mezzanine floor is provided over part of the space to both
provide vantage points when working with the largest apparatus, and to provide
additional laboratory space over areas that did not require the full headroom. Each of
the four experimental bays on the mezzanine floor is suspended separately, thus
providing good structural isolation between neighbouring bays. Blackout curtains
again allow control of ambient light levels and reconfiguration of the space within the
AFF. The AFF is generously provided with three-phase outlets and is mechanically
ventilated (with heating and cooling circuits).
Permanent and long-term installations within the AFF include:
 A large granular flow chute (see §6.2).
 An ‘avalanche’ slope/chute for dry liquid-phase granular flows.
 A simple small flume with a 300570mm cross-section and a 2.6m long
working section.
 The Stratified Shear Flume can generate complex shear profiles in a stratified
flow passing through a 400250 mm cross-section arrange as a 42m
 The 10m Solitary Wave Tank is ideal for flows in channels or low-aspect ratio
nearly two-dimensional flows.
 Two of the Laboratory’s 1m diameter precision turntables are located on the
mezzanine floor, and a third turntable, is housed on the lower level. These are
capable of rotation rates up to 60 rpm (2 rad/s).
Space is also available for other experiments requiring the full headroom. A 1 tonne
two-axis gantry crane and a goods lift for smaller items allow ready relocation of
equipment and supplies between the different levels.
. Policy
2. Policy
Target Audience: All groups
The GK Batchelor Laboratory aims to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the
health, safety and welfare of all staff, students and visitors. Where practicable, by
seeking appropriate procedures and safety features, the Laboratory attempts to ensure
that the needs of Health and Safety do not hinder the research needs.
The Laboratory Safety Policy operates as a policy beneath the Safety Policy for the
Centre of Mathematical Sciences. Activities in the Laboratory form two standing
items in the CMS Safety Committee agenda, one biological safety, and the other
covering all other areas not included in other standing items. The Laboratory policy
provides the overall framework for working in the Laboratory. Beneath this are a
number of specific policies for certain activities and types of equipment, as outlined in
the following sections.
2.1 Aim
The aim of the Laboratory is to foster internationally competitive experimental
research in a variety of research fields.
This aim is achieved by
 Maintaining a suitable and safe physical environment with access to the
required services.
 Designing, implementing or procuring appropriate mechanical, optical and
electronic solutions to meet the experimental and diagnostic requirements.
 Providing appropriate and timely assistance.
 Sustaining a critical mass of scientific and technical expertise.
 Training and advising Researchers and Supervisors as required.
 Advising those preparing research grant applications on feasibility and cost.
 Enabling, advising and training on safe working practices.
 Responding to changes in focus and direction of experimental research.
 Adhere to legal requirements for activities, use of organisms and equipment,
and the disposal of waste.
2.2 Responsibilities and duties
2.2.1 Researcher
For the purposes of this manual, a ‘Researcher’ is a student, postdoc, academic,
visitor, assistant or other similar person who is undertaking work in the Laboratory.
This work may be performing or helping perform experiments, setting up experiments,
cleaning or tidying, or analysing samples or data.
Researchers must
 Be familiar with and observe the safety procedures relevant to their activities.
 Be familiar with all Risk Assessments relevant to their work. Where such a
Risk Assessment does not exist or is no longer up to date, they ensure that an
up to date Risk Assessment is completed.
 10 
. Policy
Utilise equipment correctly and seek advice where necessary.
Identify and undertake any training.
Ensure all equipment is in good working order and, where appropriate, carries a
valid test certificate.
Report any and all accidents, breakages, faults or potential problems.
Ensure behaviour and activities do not put themselves or others at risk.
Avoid activities that inconvenience other Researchers. Where this is
impractical, liaise with those affected to minimise the inconvenience.
Ensure that any visitors are accompanied whilst in the Laboratory and are
warned of any unavoidable hazards to which they may be exposed.
Instruct anyone assisting with an experiment on the procedures required and
the safety implications.
Document any special action that may be required in the event of an
Turn off electrical equipment when it is not required, unless there is good
reason to leave it switched on. This does not apply to computers and cameras,
but may apply to monitors and light sources, for example.
Keep their environment tidy and clean up after them.
Seek advice from laboratory personnel if they have any concerns.
Note: all accidents, incidents and dangerous occurrences must be reported to the
Laboratory Safety Officer. The standard University report form should be used; copies
are available from reception or on the Health and Safety Division web site. All such
reports are brought to the attention of the CMS Site Safety Committee and the
University’s Health and Safety Division.
2.2.2 Supervisor/Principal Investigator/Host
The term ‘Supervisor’ will be used in this manual to mean anyone who has a
supervisory role in research undertaken within the Laboratory. In some cases the
Supervisor will also be a Researcher (perhaps on a different project), while in other
cases they may have no direct experience with laboratory work. In the latter case it is
likely that laboratory staff will play a greater role in advising the Researcher and
Supervisor in technical and practical aspects of the research project. However, even in
such cases, the Supervisor remains responsible for ensuring that the Researcher
adheres to the various guidelines and rules within the Laboratory.
Supervisors must
 Monitor the work of their Researcher and discuss regularly the techniques,
procedures and equipment being used.
 Read the Risk Assessment for the project(s) and discuss with the Researcher
the Health and Safety implications and the need for any training.
 Ensure that their Researchers adhere to the necessary procedures.
 Discuss the proposed research with the Director of the Laboratory before the
work starts and preferably (where appropriate) before submitting any grant
 11 
. Policy
Include in any grant application, in so far as practicable, the full cost of the
laboratory research, including consumables, materials, equipment purchases,
safety equipment and technician time.
Seek advice from laboratory personnel if there is any cause for concern.
2.2.3 Technicians
The principal role of the Technicians is to support the research by providing,
constructing, maintaining and repairing equipment. In some cases a technician may
assist with the running of experiments (in which case the Researcher should provide
them with any necessary training), while in others they may advise the Researcher
and/or Supervisor on possible procedures.
Technicians must
 Ensure equipment is designed and constructed to meet safety targets.
 Order equipment and liaise with external contractors.
 Purchase consumables.
 Test, maintain, repair or safely dispose of equipment as required.
 Prevent equipment known to be faulty from being used.
 Ensure untrained personnel do not utilise workshop tools.
2.2.4 Cleaners
It is important that Researchers recognise that the role of cleaners within the
Laboratory is not to tidy up after the Researcher. Cleaners are there to maintain a clean
working environment by removing rubbish from bins, cleaning floors and surfaces of
the normal accumulation of grime, and maintaining supplies of essentials such as soap
and paper towels. The Researcher should not expect a Cleaner to mop or sweep up
spills, clean glassware, remove general rubbish or tidy up an area. Indeed, Cleaners
are explicitly told not to disturb experimental equipment as doing so may damage the
equipment, ruin an experiment, or place the cleaner at risk.
Cleaners must
 Leave experimental apparatus undisturbed.
 Alert laboratory personnel to any problems or hazards they discover.
 Seek advice if they are unsure what should or should not be cleaned.
2.2.5 Facilities Staff
The role in the Laboratory of the CMS Facilities Staff is no different to that in the
rest of the site. In particular, they have a responsibility for the cleaners, fire
precautions, maintenance, etc. Much of this, however, is undertaken in consultation
with the Technicians.
There will be times, however, when Facilities Staff require access to the
Laboratory to fulfil this role. For example, most of the services to Pavilion H pass
through that part of the Laboratory. Some disruption to research will occur from time
to time, but this will be minimised and, where possible, Researchers warned in
Facilities Staff should
 Not touch or interfere with experimental equipment except in an emergency.
 Give advanced warning, where possible, of activities within the Laboratory.
 12 
. Policy
Seek advice concerning activities in any part of the Laboratory before working
in that part or commissioning contractors to work in that part.
Introduce to the Technicians any contractors that may require access to the
Maintain the integrity of the security system within the Laboratory.
Alert laboratory personnel to any problems or hazards they discover.
2.2.6 Director
For the purposes of this manual, the term Director shall be used to refer to both the
Director and the Deputy Director of the Laboratory. Moreover, the Director should be
considered as distinct from the academics who hold those positions and themselves are
Researchers and Supervisors.
The tasks for the Director are coordinating activities, advising on technical and
procedural problems, specifying and procuring communal equipment and services,
and managing the technical and physical resources available within the Laboratory.
The Director should be consulted at an early stage of planning any major project, or
when procedures or experiments are planned of a type not previously undertaken in
the Laboratory.
While the Director will endeavour to ensure resources are made available or
equipment is completed by the time specified by the Researcher, fundamental limits
on the available manpower and the needs of other Researchers often prevent this.
Researchers will be treated as fairly as possible with a view to keeping delays to a
minimum. It should be noted, however, that some priority will normally be assigned to
projects where the requested resource (human or physical) is being funded by that
Researchers may seek advice from the Director on scientific and technical matters,
but the expectation is that the Researcher will have sought it first within their own
research group.
The Director, often acting through the Technicians, should
 Oversee and prioritise the work undertaken by the Technicians.
 Coordinate the use and maintenance of laboratory space and basic services.
 Procure and maintain standard consumables, items of furniture and communal
 Maintain and enhance the technical capabilities of the Laboratory by investing
in both equipment and manpower.
 Provide, in conjunction with the Computer Officers, the network and computer
infrastructure required to meet the experimental needs.
 Advise Supervisors on the feasibility and cost of proposed projects.
 Advise and, in some cases, train Researchers on laboratory techniques and/or
the use of specific items of equipment.
 Monitor the actions of laboratory users.
 Warn Supervisors and/or Researchers of any concerns that could affect safety
or the longevity of equipment.
 Document and publicise procedures, policies and rules.
 Plan and develop strategies for future developments in the Laboratory.
 Provide appropriate and timely warnings of activities that may impact research.
 13 
. Policy
Arbitrate in the event of any conflicts that may arise.
Provide a point of contact.
2.2.7 Safety Officer
For the purposes of this manual, the term Safety Officer will refer to the
Departmental Safety Officer who is responsible for the Laboratory. This role should
be considered as distinct from the academic who holds that position and is him/herself
a Researcher and Supervisor. This role should also be considered as distinct from the
Director of the Laboratory, although historically the same academic has fulfilled both
The Safety Officer in the Laboratory exists to ensure that all research is conducted
in a manner consistent with current Health & Safety legislation. This is achieved
through providing advice, formulating procedures, providing or procuring training,
and monitoring the implementation of Health & Safety.
The Safety Officer should
 Document and publicise procedures, policies and rules.
 Implement workable procedures for the routine testing of equipment.
 Evaluate Risk Assessment forms and highlight any additional hazards.
 Advise Researchers and Supervisors on Health & Safety issues.
 Monitor and inspect the performance and adherence to Health & Safety
 Report to the Head of Department and the CMS Safety Committee any
problems or previously unrecognised significant hazards.
 Report to the University Safety Office any accidents or incidents.
2.3 Specific policies
Within this overarching policy, specific policies exist for certain activities. These
include the use of electrical equipment, lasers and genetically modified organisms.
2.3.1 Electrical Safety Policy
Electrical safety in the laboratory is governed by the CMS Electrical Safety Policy.
In particular, every item of equipment connected to a mains power supply, directly or
indirectly and including cables and extension leads, must be tested and identified with
a sticker. This applies both to equipment owned by the Laboratory, equipment brought
into the laboratory by others and purchases of new equipment. In certain
circumstances, battery-powered equipment must also be tested: this is always the case
if voltages exceeding 50V DC are present.
Electrical Safety is a standing item on the agenda for the CMS Safety Committee.
Further guidance on the risks and control measures is provided in §5.1 of this
2.3.2 Laser Safety Policy
The use of Class 1 devices is not restricted provided no modifications are made
that would render the classification inappropriate. Class 2 devices may also be used
provided straightforward measures to avoid prolonged exposure to the beam are taken.
Class 2M devices may be used in a similar manner provided that no additional optics
are fitted to the device.
 14 
. Policy
Laser Safety is routinely reported to the CMS Safety Committee.
The Laser Safety Policy applies principally to Class 3 and Class 4 laser devices. In
every case a Risk Assessment is necessary and both legal requirements and the
University’s Code of Practice must be adhered to. The following must also be adhered
to for all Class 3 and Class 4 devices:
 Planned purchase or acquisition of any Class 3 or Class 4 laser device must be
discussed in advance with the Laser Safety Officer. Personnel with the
authority to place orders should check with the Laser Safety Officer before
placing any orders for new laser equipment.
 Local Rules for each laser must be approved by the Laser Safety Officer and
must be provided to each user of the laser.
 Local Rules should be reviewed whenever there is a material change. If there
are no changes, then the Local Rules must be reviewed at least annually. The
Local Rules should include a revision history along with the date of each
review even if there were no changes made.
 The Laser Safety Officer must review a copy of the Risk Assessment before a
new laser setup is commissioned.
 Risk Assessments should be reviewed whenever there is a material change to
the setup or operating procedures. If there are no changes, then the Risk
Assessment must still be reviewed at least annually. The Risk Assessment
should include a revision history along with the date of each review even if
there were no changes made.
 Hardcopy of the Local Rules and all Risk Assessments should be handed to the
Laser Safety Officer by the middle of each Michaelmas Term for comment,
validation and filing. Any required annual review should have taken place
before this time.
 All laser users must receive suitable training before commencing unsupervised
work with a laser. Training needs should be discussed with the Supervisor
and/or Laser Safety Officer. Training received outside the University must be
of at least the same standard as that provided within the University; by default,
new users should attend a University training course even if they have attended
a course at their previous institution.
 All laser users must undergo refresher training at intervals, preferably every
three years and not exceeding four years.
 Before a laser user is permitted to commence work with a laser, they should
verify that they are familiar with the Risk Assessment and Local Rules for the
laser concerned, have completed any training and induction requirements, and
have a completed Laser Authorisation Form.
 Protocols regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and shielding must
be observed.
 Local Rules must be written and displayed or available in the work area.
 Warning signs and access restrictions must be used as appropriate.
 Laboratory users must observe access restrictions.
 Lasers must not be left on unattended unless adequate access restrictions are in
 15 
. Policy
Laser keys must be returned to the appropriate storage cabinet and not be left in
laser control units.
Naked laser beams must not be accessible except during essential alignment
and focusing operations.
Access controls must be put in place during all alignment and focusing
operations where a naked laser beam is accessible, or may inadvertently
become accessible.
A Permit to Work must be obtained by contractors, service engineers, etc. who
might require to work beyond the scope of the Local Rules.
Regular safety inspections will include lasers and their use.
Any incident, whether or not resulting in an injury, must be reported
immediately to the Laser Safety Officer. The equipment concerned must be
isolated from the power supply but not otherwise moved or altered, pending
In the event of suspected eye injury, a medical examination must be arranged
within 24 hours, either through Occupational Health or directly with the
Accident and Emergency department at Addenbrookes. Occupational Health
may advise on-going surveillance. See §11.9 of the University’s ‘Safe Use of
Lasers’ code of practice.
2.3.3 Artificial Optical Radiation
For sources of optical radiation (including those due to lasers), the Laboratory
operates within the guidance provided by the University’s policy on Artificial Optical
2.3.4 Biological Safety Policy
Biological Safety forms a standing item on the Agenda for the CMS Safety
Committee meeting. This meeting is convened three times a year. The Biological
Safety Officer reports to this Committee on all biological safety issues.
 Only designated areas of the Laboratory located in Pavilion H may be used for
biological activities. These areas of the Laboratory are classified as
Containment Level 2 facilities.
 Only Hazard Group 1 microorganisms, plants and insects are permitted.
 Laboratory coats must be worn when working in the biological areas of the
 Organisms and waste must be sterilised, as appropriate, once work with them is
 Sterilisation using the autoclave facility should be logged and verified.
 Laboratory procedures should adhere to ‘best practice’ and be compatible with
University Guidelines.
 Good ‘house-keeping’ practices must be maintained.
 Disposal of biological waste shall be in accordance with the University Code of
 16 
. Policy
2.3.5 Genetically Modified Organisms Safety Policy
A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Subcommittee monitors all matters
relating to the use of GMO within the Laboratory. Membership of this subcommittee
includes the Biological Safety Officer, the Director of the Laboratory, the Head
Technician, a co-opted representative from the School of Biological Sciences, and a
representative from those University Teaching Officers undertaking research with
GMOs. The GMO Subcommittee meets at least annually and reports to the CMS
Safety Committee via the Biological Safety Officer.
 All use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) must adhere to legal
standards and the conditions of the GMO licence.
 Only Class 1 organisms falling in Hazard Group 1 may be considered.
 Plant species must be disposed of before they go to seed.
 All researchers must be trained in and adhere to the protocols for the organisms
with which they are working.
 Detailed Risk Assessments must be maintained covering all classes and strains
of organisms that are or have been used and/or held in storage.
 A list of organisms and their characteristics must be maintained.
 Organisms must be obtained from reputable sources with the appropriate
2.3.6 Waste Policy
To ensure the safety and sustainability of laboratory-based research, it is vital that
waste of all kinds is handled in an appropriate and environmentally sensitive manner.
This requirement includes (but is not limited to) the disposal of fluids, chemicals,
materials, particles, powders, organisms, consumables and equipment of all categories.
 The Risk Assessment for all projects must consider the generation and handling
of waste materials or by-products, in addition to the materials used in the
experiments themselves.
 The use of any non-standard materials (including chemicals and biological
organisms) must be discussed with the appropriate Safety Officer prior to
commencing work.
 University rules, guidance and appropriate codes of practice should be adhered
Biological waste and other waste associated with work on biological physics
must be handled in accordance with the procedures found at and the relevant University
 17 
. Policy
Equipment should only be disposed of after discussion with the Director of the
Laboratory or the Head Technician.
Electrical equipment and related waste must be handled in accordance with the
WEE regulations.
Equipment contaminated with hazardous materials should be disposed of as
hazardous waste.
Equipment contaminated with biological materials should have the material
inactivated (where possible). The disposal route will then be assessed on a
case-by-case basis.
Risk Assessments must include details of all chemicals and related substances,
how they are used and how they are to be disposed of. Substances deemed
‘hazardous’ must be disposed of through an appropriate route as Hazardous
For chemicals released to drain or collected for disposal as Hazardous Waste,
consideration must be given to reactions that may occur either in the drains or
the collection vessel.
Disposal of anything other than water to drains must be in accordance with
both University policy and that of the Environment Agency and Anglian Water.
 In certain cases, permits to discharge certain chemicals (e.g. NaNO3 solutions)
can be gained through negotiation with both the University Safety Office and
Anglian Water, but only after consultation with the Laboratory Safety Officer
and the Director of the Laboratory. In all such cases, the permission must be
provided in writing (with a copy given to the Laboratory Safety Officer) and all
procedures, limits and notification requirements documented and adhered to.
Note that limits are likely to apply across the entire laboratory rather than on an
experiment-by-experiment basis.
 Chemicals carrying the risk phrases R50, R51, R52 or R53 (describing toxicity
to aquatic organisms) or N (dangerous for the environment) must always be
disposed of as Hazardous Waste. Note that this includes historically ‘safe’
chemicals such as potassium permanganate (KMnO4).
 Risk Assessments must consider the handling and disposal of any fluids
 Where chemicals are permitted to be released to drain, they must be washed
down with plenty of water. Thought should also be given to the patterns of
emission and whether such patterns can be modified to further reduce the harm
or perceived harm.
Any project generating Hazardous Waste should include a detailed Risk
Assessment and procedures for collecting and handling the waste.
 18 
. Policy
The Head Technician is responsible for organising the collection and removal
of Hazardous Waste from the Laboratory. All such waste must be disposed of
using a service provider approved for the type of waste to be disposed of.
Packaging of Hazardous Waste must take into account the risks associated with
handling and/or accidental release of the hazardous material, and the interaction
with other materials (whether hazardous or not in themselves) stored nearby or
transported at the same time.
The principal collection point for Hazardous Waste is in the bunded area in
Pavilion C.
 19 
Health & Safety
3 Health & Safety
Target: Researchers, Supervisors, Technicians
Safe working practices are not only a legal requirement, but also a hallmark of
high-quality experimental research. It is essential that you do not consider the rules
regulating Health & Safety an unnecessary diversion, but rather that it is an integral
and essential element of the environment in which we work. A Supervisor who shows
no interest or actively discourages a Researcher from adhering to safety procedures is
sending a strong message that the results of the study matter more than the Researcher
obtaining those results. In contrast, someone who takes a proactive stance is not only
showing a concern of their own well-being, but also showing a team spirit with care
for others and for shared equipment and resources.
Health & Safety is a central issue in the University. At the top-most level it is
governed by the University Safety Policy, which is elaborated on by the CMS Safety
Policy. The procedures and requirements outlined in this document should be viewed
as an elaboration on these two policies. Some specific activities within the Laboratory
are covered by additional policies (see §2 for details). Use of the Laboratory is
conditional on adherence to these procedures and requirements.
The policy and procedures adopted by and required in the Laboratory are
mandatory under the CMS Safety Policy, which governs all categories of people
accessing the CMS site. Adherence to the CMS Safety Policy is, in turn, mandatory
under the University’s Safety Policy.
Health & Safety legislation requires a formal induction process and that formal
procedures are in place to highlight the risks involved, to develop safe working
practices, and to monitor that these are observed. Central to this strategy in the
laboratory context is the requirement for every Researcher to complete a Risk
Assessment of his/her work. Completing a Risk Assessment helps highlight to the
Researcher (and their Supervisor) that there are dangers in undertaking the research,
and what measures can be undertaken to minimise these dangers. Completing a Risk
Assessment need not be a lengthy process, but it will, in general, be both educational
to the Researcher/Supervisor and beneficial to the project.
All work undertaken in the Laboratory must be covered by a Risk Assessment. A
Risk Assessment must be filed prior to starting any project, or when there is to be a
substantial change in a project. Under certain circumstances where explicit approval
has been granted by the Laboratory Safety Officer, a limited amount of work under the
direct supervision of an experienced researcher may be started whilst the Risk
Assessment is being prepared. The completion of a Risk Assessment is a Laboratory,
University and statutory requirement. Copies of all Risk Assessments must be
provided to the Laboratory’s Safety Officer.
For organised classes, demonstrations, open days or courses in the Laboratory,
responsibility for the Risk Assessment and an Induction procedure rests with the
organiser of the course. The organiser must discuss the arrangements that have been
made with the Safety Officer well in advance of the course. In such cases the
participants must normally have continual supervision.
The University issues Codes of Practice covering common activities and hazards
from time to time. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of these may be found at the
University Health and Safety Office’s web site. Where a Code of Practice does exist
for particular activities that may occur within the Laboratory, this Code is referred to
in this document, along with an indication of the role it plays in Health & Safety
 20 
Health & Safety
implementation in the Laboratory. In most cases the Laboratory’s own procedures will
elaborate on the Code of Practice; in some cases the Laboratory’s procedures will
exceed those found in the Code of Practice. In such cases, the Laboratory’s procedures
take precedence.
3.1 Induction
All personnel wishing to use the Laboratory must undergo an induction process
before commencing work. This induction process is intended to ensure the user has all
the information they require to work safely in the Laboratory and to provide
Laboratory personnel with the information necessary to support this work.
For research personnel the induction will take place partially within the user’s own
research group (typically provided by and experienced member of that group), and
partly with the Laboratory Safety Officer. A check-list may be found in Appendix A
to help guide this process. Completion of all the steps on the induction checklist is a
precursor to being permitted to commence work in the Laboratory.
3.2 Preparation of Risk Assessment
Although this requirement for a Risk Assessment appears onerous, in most cases it
will be very simple to complete and, for an experience user, require less than half an
hour. This simplicity is possible where the project is restricted to the standard
laboratory procedures and hazards described in §5 of this manual. In such cases, the
Risk Assessment is limited to a brief description of the project and experimental
methodologies, with a reference to the material in this manual describing the
associated hazards and procedures.
However, if the project uses equipment or methodologies not covered by this
manual, then the Risk Assessment must explore all the possible hazards and safety
measures required. A more detailed Risk Assessment is also required for some types
of equipment described in §5; this requirement is indicated alongside the equipment
category in that section. A pro forma for the Risk Assessment is provided in Appendix
B. This pro forma is relevant for work that is largely covered by the details in this
manual. Risk Assessments need not use this pro forma, but they must be written
One key element of the Risk Assessment is governed by the COSHH (Control Of
Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations. In most cases the COSHH form will
need to be completed as a part of the assessment. If any chemicals or materials are
used that require a specific entry in the Risk Assessment (i.e. if the references in §5 do
not cover all the necessary details) then the Risk Assessment should include a copy of
the relevant datasheet on the substance.
The Risk Assessment pro forma in Appendix B also includes a section on
emergency procedures that details the action(s) required should there be a major
incident and the person in charge of the experiment is not on scene. This section must
note the course of action in such an event. Typically this will include using the knockdown button to cut the electric supply, and details of how to disconnect from other
services. In many cases an answer of ‘do not care’ is appropriate, indicating the person
dealing with the incident can take whatever action they deem necessary without
exposing themselves or others to an increased risk. The pro forma is also available
electronically at
 21 
Health & Safety
Once completed, the Risk Assessment must be passed to the Laboratory Safety
Officer or the Senior Technical Officer for approval. If there is a Supervisor associated
with the project, then the Risk Assessment should first be viewed and signed by them.
Once approved, a copy of the Risk Assessment must be deposited in the wallet
labelled ‘Risk Assessments’ found at the main entrance to each of the laboratory areas.
The researcher should also retain a copy, and the original must be given to the
Laboratory Safety Officer.
3.3 Maintenance and monitoring
Equipment will remain safe only so long as it is used within its design parameters, it is
regularly maintained, and the operators are competent to use it. It is the responsibility
of the individual Researcher, and of their Supervisor, to ensure these conditions are
To monitor satisfactory Health & Safety performance, all equipment and
experimental setups in the Laboratory are subject to a regular review. This review
exists both as a paper exercise, and as inspection of the state of the equipment, its
setup, conformity of tests (e.g. electrical or pressure), and other related areas.
Risk Assessments must be reviewed annually (more frequently for high-risk
activities) or when there is a significant change in the setup or operating procedures.
Any faults found in the equipment must be logged in the Risk Assessment, and the
cause of any recurring fault analysed and eliminated.
3.4 Ordering, borrowing and receiving equipment
The majority of equipment and supplies used in the Laboratory are ordered and
received by the Head Technician (or in some cases the Electronics Technician). As
equipment is received it is tested for safety and logged, as appropriate.
However, some equipment may arrive through a different route, either ordered
from a mail order/internet supplier, or possibly borrowed from another institution. In
all cases the Head Technician, Electronics Technician or the Safety Officer must be
informed before the equipment is used, and any tests/checks must be performed.
3.5 Access to Workshop
3.5.1 Entry to workshop
Access to the workshop is restricted to authorised personnel only. While members of
the Laboratory are welcome to enter the workshop to seek assistance or advice from
one of the technicians, they should not proceed beyond the assembly bench area unless
invited to do so by a technician. Visitors should not normally be brought into the
workshop without first consulting the technicians.
3.5.2 Use of workshop facilities
Laboratory users should not attempt to use any of the facilities or machines within the
workshop without first seeking permission from the Head Technician. You may be
permitted to use hand tools and the drilling machines if you are able to demonstrate
your competence to the Head Technician. You will not be permitted, under normal
circumstances, to use the other machine tools.
3.6 Working after hours
Special care should be taken if working in the laboratory after hours or during the
weekends. In most cases the level of risk is not altered significantly, but the
 22 
Health & Safety
consequences of an accident could be substantially greater. Before undertaking any
work after hours, you should consider the following:
Are there other people also working in the laboratory who could offer assistance
or summon aid in the event of an accident? If the answer to this is “no”, then you
should avoid high-risk activities. For example, experiments on the rotating tables
requiring direct manual interaction with the turntable should not be undertaken if
you are the only person in the laboratory.
You should familiarise yourself with how to summon the University Security
Patrol. This may be essential if you need to summon an ambulance, for example,
as they may not otherwise be able to gain access to the laboratory.
If you are undertaking experiments and you are the only person working in the
laboratory, you should arrange a regular telephone check-in with a friend or
colleague so that an alarm may be raised if you can no longer be contacted due to
an accident. You should be aware that mobile phones do not work reliably in the
Any intention to work alone should be indicated in your Risk Assessment, along with
the additional measures you will take to minimise the associated risk.
3.7 Hygiene
Do not eat or drink food in the laboratory.
Do not drink water from taps in the laboratory.
Do not store food in the laboratory, even in sealed containers.
Do not dispose of food in the laboratory.
Do not use the laboratory sinks for cleaning glasses, plates or cutlery.
Always wash your hands after working in the laboratory.
The University has issued guidance on these matters.
Note that a water chiller may be found in the corridor within Pavilion H. While it
is not permissible to bring food or drink into this corridor, you may drink water from
this chiller whilst remaining in the corridor. Under no circumstances may you take a
drink from here into other areas of the laboratory. You must also wash your hands
before making use of the water chiller.
3.8 Fire
The issues here apply wherever you are working (in the laboratory, your office or
elsewhere in the department).
3.8.1 Preparation
Determine all the escape routes open to you.
Locate the nearest call point (fire alarm switch).
Familiarise yourself with the location of the nearest fire extinguisher and their
Fire doors are not to be wedged open, except as a temporary measure to facilitate
the moving of equipment.
 23 
Health & Safety
3.8.2 If there is a fire
The fire alarm is a single, continuous electronic tone.
If the fire alarm sounds, switch off all equipment and leave the building
immediately. You may leave the computers and printers running.
Do not run.
Do not lock the doors.
Do not return to the building until you have been advised that it is safe.
Never use water to extinguish electrical or chemical fires.
Do not place yourself at risk attempting to extinguish a fire.
Although each of the Pavilions at CMS is a separate fire compartment, it is
recommended that on hearing the alarm you go outside from the building you are in.
Subsequently, if the alarm is not sounding in one of the other Pavilions, and you are
given approval to do so by a fire monitor, you may enter one of the other Pavilions
where the alarm is not sounding.
3.9 Children
The University and its Insurers discourage the presence of children on University
premises, except on Open Days and social events. Moreover, they require the
Department to have its own policy. For the Laboratory, this is covered by the CMS
Safety Policy. The key statement in this Policy is
Children should never be allowed into hazardous areas such as the laboratory
(except under the special conditions of Open Day, when they should be
Anyone contemplating bringing a child (under 18 years old) or vulnerable adult (e.g.,
with a learning disability) into the Laboratory must consult first with the Director of
the Laboratory.
3.10 People at risk
Some medical conditions may make it inadvisable for you to undertake certain
activities within the laboratory, or to restrict such activities to the daytime where
assistance is available. Conditions and activities that may be incompatible may
The use of the turntables if you suffer from dizzy spells or uncontrolled epilepsy.
The use of certain chemicals if you suffer dermatitis or respiratory problems, or if
you are pregnant.
Moving equipment if you suffer back problems.
Lifting or using ladders if you are pregnant.
If you are an expectant mother, it is recommended that you discuss at any early
stage any changes or restrictions to your work with either the Laboratory Safety
Officer or the Departmental Administrator. Any discussions will be treated with strict
 24 
Health & Safety
The University has issued specific guidance for pregnancy and nursing mothers.
 25 
. Research Projects
4. Research Projects
Target: Supervisors
The need to take Health and Safety issues into account must be remembered at all
stages in the life of a research project in the Laboratory.
4.1 Preparation of proposal
Successful research benefits greatly from an adequate resources being available. This
is particularly true of experimental work where the work may not be able to progress
if a critical piece of equipment is missing or broken. Key questions that must be
addressed at an early stage in planning a piece of research include
How much of the necessary equipment already exists? Is this equipment going to
be available for the project?
What funds are required to procure or construct new equipment?
What funds are required to modify new or existing equipment?
Are funds required to maintain, test or calibrate equipment?
What is the cost of any safety equipment or training required?
What are the costs of consumables, chemicals, etc.?
What level of technical support is required to construct/assemble the equipment?
What level of technical support is required to keep the equipment running?
It is strongly recommended that you discuss your plans with the Director of the
Laboratory and the Head Technician before submission.
It is important that, in so far as practicable, research grant applications meet all the
direct costs of the research. This includes funding all new equipment, the cost of
consumables, technical support and safety. While the Laboratory accepts that such
funding is not available for some categories of researcher (particularly research
students and those on some fellowship schemes), the required funds should be raised
from the sponsor wherever possible. The Laboratory does have access to some funds
to support projects where there is no mechanism for raising the funds, but these are
very limited and cannot absorb the high costs of some projects.
This issue is particularly important with respect to technical support. The demands
on technical support significantly exceed the number of technicians supported on
central funding. All the other technicians are supported on a combination of research
grants and overheads. Over most of the history of the Laboratory, the demand for
technical support has far exceeded the funds available to provide that support. An
inadequate level of technical support in one project tends to cause delays, not only to
that project, but also to all the other projects.
Wherever possible, funds should be requested for technical support. Typically this
should be between 20% and 30% of a full time equivalent over the entire period of the
project. These funds are pooled together from all the projects within the Laboratory
and are used to fund the technicians to provide the best possible level of support.
It is important to note that when technician time is taken into account, it is
normally more cost effective (and definitely more time effective) to purchase readymade equipment, where that is available. It should also be noted, however, that even
 26 
. Research Projects
the ordering, safety testing and installation of ready-made equipment requires some
technician time. Moreover, it is frequently necessary to modify the equipment in some
way, or to provide ancillary devices in order that it may be mounted and/or used.
Issues such as whether a proposed piece of research can be conducted safely
should also be addressed before submitting a research proposal or making other plans
to undertake the work. While it is not necessary to solve all problems at this point, the
fact that there are problems that will need solving should be recognised. Moreover, it
is important to incorporate in any budget for the work an allowance (both time and
money) to allow a satisfactory solution to be developed.
In many cases careful design or detailed procedures are all that are required, and
existing equipment can be adapted to avoid many of the issues. However, in other
cases, considerable care must be exercised and a significant cost must be met in order
to achieve safe working practices. Where the project requires safety measures beyond
those for a ‘standard’ experiment, it is essential that funds are available for these
measures. Failure to secure such funds may prevent the work from being undertaken.
In addition to safety, increasingly it is necessary to take into account the ecological
and environmental impact of work. Can waste be handled through normal drains and
rubbish streams, or need they be treated as ‘hazardous waster’? A knowledge of what
has been done historically is not sufficient to determine what is currently permitted
due to changes in regulations and the discovery of additional hazards.
4.2 Detailed planning and setting up
The development of detailed designs and procedures must adhere to the general
guidelines found in this document and in the University’s various Codes of Practice.
Anything falling outside these guidelines must be discussed with suitably qualified
and experienced individuals in order to both assess the risk and determine any
appropriate safety measures that should be incorporated. In such cases, drafts of full
documentation of the risks and preventive measures, and the operating procedures,
should be produced prior to the associated equipment being commissioned. This
documentation, and the experimental setup, should also be reviewed both by the
project Supervisor and by the Laboratory Safety Officer (or someone nominated by
him) prior to use.
 27 
. Hazards
5. Hazards
Target: Researchers, Technicians
All laboratories are inherently dangerous places. It is essential to maintain safe
working practices in order to prevent injury to people and damage to property. The
hazards in the GK Batchelor Laboratory may be less obvious than in many other
laboratories yet can be just as dangerous. The main hazards fall into a number broad
 Electrical – water and electricity make a lethal combination
 Mechanical – rotating tables, the wave maker, pumps and other moving
equipment have the potential of jamming, tearing or throwing other equipment
 Chemical – while the majority of substances used in the laboratory are
relatively harmless, some can promote dermatitis and related skin conditions,
may be poisonous if ingested and can damage your eyes
 Biological – infection and toxicity may be less of a problem than sensitisation,
allergy or simply being scratched
 Optical – powerful visible light sources are used in many of the experiments
 Heat – hot water, heating elements, heat baths and light sources producing high
 Cold – freezers, cooling baths and cryostatic circulators can cause cold burns
and embrittlement of many materials
 Breakages – thermometers, glassware and metals
 Lifting – many items of equipment are heavy or cumbersome to lift or may
require special lifting equipment
 Falls and injury –wet floors can be slippery
 Clutter – can cause tripping, promote fire or hide other more serious hazards.
These main issues are dealt with in the following subsections. You should
familiarise yourself with these and re-read them at least annually. If you are unsure
about something, please ask. If you see something you believe to be dangerous, please
tell either the Head Technician or Director of the Laboratory.
Most of the safety procedures are based on “common sense”. Remember that a tidy
working environment will reduce the chance of accidents.
All accidents, incidents and “near misses” must be reported to either the Head
Technician or the Director of the Laboratory, no matter how insignificant they may
seem. In addition, when injury occurs or in other cases when so instructed, those
involved should complete an Accident Report Form and return this to the Director of
the Laboratory. Blank copies of the Accident Report Form may be obtained from
It is also important, both from a safety and environmental view point that
materials, equipment and other waste is disposed of in a suitable manner. Please
consult with the Head Technician and/or Laboratory Safety Officer for any nonstandard items or materials needing to be disposed of. The University has issued
guidance on this through the Environmental Office:
 28 
. Hazards
5.1 Electrical
Arguably, electricity represents the most significant single risk in the Laboratory.
Spills of water are inevitable in the Laboratory. If such spills occur over or close to
electrical or electronic equipment then this represents a serious risk of electrocution.
Use of electricity, however, is essential for most of the work undertaken. This section
is based on the CMS Electrical Safety Policy and provides rules and guidelines to help
minimise the risk and reduce it to acceptable levels.
Refer to the CMS Electrical Safety Policy for further details.
The University has issued guidance on electrical safety.
5.1.1 Electrical guidelines
The following checklist will help reduce this risk to acceptable levels:
Never position mains-operated equipment or plugboards where there is a danger
of it getting wet through splashes or leaks.
Do not overload sockets or plugboards by connecting excessive electrical loads.
Do not daisy chain plug boards so that there are more than two plugboards
connected to any given power socket.
If the equipment is located above a tank or where it may be knocked into a tank,
then ensure the equipment is securely attached. If necessary, the technicians will
make suitable brackets or other attachment mechanisms.
Ensure all equipment used near liquids is protected by an RCD (Residual Current
Detector). This device will automatically shut of the mains supply if the current
returning along the neutral wire is not equal to that supplied along the live wire.
You should not assume the use of an RCD removes the danger of electrocution: it
does not, but it does lessen the risks. All single-phase (i.e. 13A plugs) outlets
within the research areas of the GK Batchelor Laboratory are protected by a local
RCD. In most cases this is incorporated into the socket front, but for power poles
the RCD forms a separate unit. Sockets in other areas, such as the corridors or IT
cupboards, are not necessarily RCD protected. If you are using equipment outside
the Laboratory, then you should use either a RCD adapter, or a plug fitted with an
integral RCD.
Never turn on or off, or alter in other ways, any mains-operated equipment when
you have wet hands, unless it is specifically intended for use in wet environments.
Never operate mains equipment when standing on a wet floor.
In emergencies, use the red knock-down button to cut power to all sockets in your
area. You should familiarise yourself with the location of the knock-down switch
before you start work on your project. Knock-down switches are positioned to
allow easy access in emergencies and are typically adjacent to passageways or
doors. In larger spaces (such as the AFF and Pavilion A), the power outlets are
divided into zones, with one or more knockdown switch per zone. Each socket
and knock-down switch is labelled to identify the zone to which it belongs.
Resetting the knock-down button will in most cases immediately restore power to
all single-phase outlets (but not three-phase outlets).
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Check visually all equipment for loose or damaged wires, or other features which
may represent an electrical hazard.
10. All electrical equipment must have a valid test sticker attached. These stickers
show both the date the equipment was last tested, and the date the next test is due.
The equipment must not be used if the date due has passed, except in so far as
permitted under the ‘Temporary Use Scheme’ (see below), but should instead be
referred to the technicians for testing. Additionally, do not use equipment that
does not have a safety sticker, the sticker was issued by someone other than the
Department, or the equipment has any visible damage.
11. Never operate equipment from outside the laboratory until it has been safety
checked. This includes both electrical testing (see above), and a visual check of
other features (e.g. mechanical or optical) by a suitably qualified person. Note that
it may be necessary to extend the Risk Assessment for the project to include this
12. Electrical equipment should be turned off when not in use, unless there is a good
reason to keep it turned on. This rule does not apply to video cameras, computers
and some types of instrumentation. Older computer monitors that do not power
down automatically should be turned off, except if the computer is left processing
13. Any equipment that must be left on should have a label stating ‘Do not turn off’
(or similar) adjacent to the relevant switch(es).
5.1.2 Temporary use scheme
The following text is taken from the CMS Electrical Safety Policy:
Many items of equipment held by the Laboratory are used only intermittently,
spending most of their life in storage. As such, it is impractical and wasteful to ensure
that all stored equipment carries a valid test sticker on the off-chance that it may be
While it is undesirable from a safety perspective for equipment to be used if it has
not been tested recently, delaying research is also undesirable, especially if the
Researcher is unsure whether the item is going to be of use. The temporary use of
equipment where the test sticker is expired is therefore permitted under the following
The equipment is obtained from storage rather than another actively-used
experimental rig.
There is a reasonable expectation that the equipment has been in storage for at
least the last month.
The test sticker expired no more than one year previously.
The equipment and its mains cable show no obvious sign of damage or corrosion.
If the mains cable is separable, then a tested mains cable must be used.
The equipment is plugged in via a Residual Current Device.
The Electronics Technician is notified immediately that the equipment is in need
of testing and that it is being used.
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The equipment is made available for testing upon request. (Note that it may be
necessary to remove the equipment from the experimental setup to complete the
If the Researcher finishes using the equipment before it has been tested, the
equipment must be handed over to the Electronics Technician for testing.
Equipment must not be used beyond the date permitted by the Temporary Use
Scheme if it has not been tested. Only the Director or Safety Officer may give
permission to extend this period.
The Temporary Use Scheme must not be used in conjunction with any of the
Mains cables that can be unplugged from the equipment.
Plugboards and extension leads.
Submersible equipment such as submersible pumps
High-voltage equipment such as arc lamp power supplies.
Equipment showing signs of damage.
Other items of equipment carrying a sticker indicating Temporary Use
Scheme prohibited.
5.2 Mechanical
Electric motors are used in a number of large and small apparatus. In addition to the
electrical safety noted above, these represent a hazard due to possible entanglement,
crushing, abrasion and movement of insecure loads. Similar risks exist in other
equipment with moving parts, whether activated by compressed air or manually.
5.2.1 Turntables:
Never operate wearing loose clothing or jewellery that may become entangled.
Similarly long hair should be tied back if there is a danger of snagging.
Ensure your footwear is suitable for walking around the table without slipping or
Ensure all apparatus is mounted securely on the table and that there are not
dangling wires. The technicians will construct suitable mounting brackets if none
are available.
Never have sharp objects protruding from the table, or other items overhanging
the table edge to any great extent.
Where possible, set up experiments to avoid the need to walk around the turntable
while it is in motion.
Ensure there is adequate space to move freely around and past the turntable while
it is in motion.
Position a security barrier to prevent others from walking past the turntable while
it is in motion.
Keep members of the public well clear of the table when rotating.
Never operate the table in complete darkness.
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10. Do not rotate in speeds in excess of 30rpm (~3rad/s) without first seeking
clearance from the Director of the Laboratory.
11. Do not use a turntable if you are in the third trimester of a pregnancy or your
movements are otherwise impaired.
5.2.2 Other
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Ensure guards are properly installed.
Do not place hands or objects in the way of any moving parts.
Turn off and, where appropriate, disconnect before making any adjustments.
Do not tamper with any limit switches or cut-offs.
Ensure the “off” switch is located in an easily accessible and obvious place.
5.3 Chemical
The main chemical substances used in the laboratory are salts, dyes, water and
alcohol. A small supply of other chemicals is also kept for specific applications.
Regardless of the chemical, you should check the current safety information before
use. Copies of the COSHH materials safety data sheets may be obtained from the
Head Technician. Your Risk Assessment must contain a copy of the data sheet for any
substance that is not covered by this manual or where its use is regulated.
The notes below are only for additional guidance. In all cases:
Do not leave open or unlabelled containers lying around.
Label all containers using insoluble pen and suitable labels.
Make yourself fully aware of the potential hazards involved.
Determine all reactions that might occur, both between different chemicals and
between chemicals and apparatus.
Take care to dispose of waste in an appropriate manner. Their Material Safety
Data Sheet will give some indication, but this must be viewed in conjunction with
the UK’s and University’s specific rules.
Certain classes of chemicals (e.g., hydrocarbons, mercury, those carrying risk
phrases R50, R51, R52 and R53, and many others) must not be flushed to drain,
while others have limits on the amounts/concentrations.
Check that any mixing of waste (in a storage container or in the drain) does not
lead to dangerous reactions or by-products.
The Head Technician will arrange for disposal of any chemicals that may not be
disposed of via normal routes.
Never be tempted to determine the contents of an unknown container by smell,
taste or chemical reaction.
10. Never establish flow through a tube/siphon using your mouth.
11. Never use your mouth to fill a pipette.
12. Avoid the possibility of any chemicals coming in contact with electrical or other
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13. Chemicals labelled R40, R45, R46, R47, R61, R63 and R64 must not be used if
you are pregnant. Special assessment of other chemicals should be made.
14. Flammables and solvents should be stored in one of the ‘flammables’ cupboards
when not in use, although small quantities of propan2ol may be kept in suitably
marked containers in the Laboratory.
15. Liquid containment wadding and other materials used for containing or cleaning
up a spill are located in the chemical store. In some cases it may be appropriate to
have this form of material closer to a particular experiment.
The University also has a code of practice concerning chemical safety. The notes
given here are in accordance with that code and provide supplementary information.
The University has issued specific guidance to the completion of COSHH forms
(available electronically), including examples.
The University has also issued guidance for the disposal of chemicals and
discharges to drains.
There are many web-based sources of additional information available, including
electronic access to many of the Material Safety Data Sheets that are required for
completion of COSHH forms. Good starting places for this information are listed
The Material Safety Data Sheets are also supplied whenever we order chemicals.
These are held by the Head Technician and are available on request.
A fume cupboard is available within Pavilion C for any work requiring such
facilities. A detailed risk assessment will be mandatory in all cases where the fume
cupboard is required. The University has issued some guidance on the use of fume
5.3.1 Water
The main dangers from water by itself are contributing to electrocution and making
the laboratory floor slippery.
Avoid splashes and spills wherever possible.
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Always mop up spills immediately. Squeegees, which are available in every part
of the laboratory, are the most effective method of sweeping water into the drains.
Take care, however, not to sweep the water into areas containing other equipment.
If you are unable to clean up the spill quickly, cordon off the area affected or erect
“Slippery Floor” signs.
Do not operate electrical equipment (unless specifically designed for operating
“wet”) while there is water on the floor.
It the spill is sizeable, it may be necessary to isolate all power outlets using the
knock-down button.
Ensure that the shutoff valves feeding the apparatus remain accessible at all times.
Never drink water from the laboratory.
Note that a water chiller is provided in the corridor in Pavilion H. You may drink
directly from this, but should not use it to fill any form of container other than the cups
provided. Moreover, you may not bring or consume food or other drinks within the
In the event of major problems, it may be necessary to shut off the water to the
whole of the Laboratory in which you are working. For the laboratory components in
Pavilions A, C and H, this can only be achieved in the adjoining plant rooms, and so
must be done by a technician or a member of the facilities staff. In the Ambient Flow
Facility, isolation valves are located alongside the main stairs between levels -1 and 1.5.
5.3.2 Solvents
This section deals with the most commonly used solvents (liquids) used in
Note that the use of volatile solvents is restricted and in many cases a Volatile
Solvent Permit is required before they can be used. This Permit system operates in
parallel with the need for a Risk Assessment. With the exception of undiluted propan2-ol, a Permit is not required for the solvents listed here. ALCOHOL
Volatile Solvent Permit: May be required
Propan-2-ol (isopropyl alcohol; CH3CHOHCH3) is often used for cleaning laboratory
equipment and may be used to match refractive indices or reduce the density of water
solutions. Do not use either ethanol or methanol for any purposes without prior
consultation. In addition to the safety issues, it also damages most of our tanks.
The guidance given in §5.3.1 for water applies also to alcohol. However, in
Avoid breathing vapours.
Dilute spills with water before mopping or wiping up.
Do not use in enclosed spaces.
Do not use the pure liquid for experiments.
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Do not use solutions more concentrated than 30% by volume in experiments
requiring more than 50ml of propan2ol without prior approval of the Laboratory
Safety Officer. Approval will require careful assessment of the dangers and
control measures in your Risk Assessment.
Do not leave dilute solutions in open experimental apparatus for extended periods.
Do not use in conjunction with oxidising agents (e.g. potassium permanganate).
Note: a Volatile Solvent Permit is required whenever in excess of 50ml per hour is
released from solutions stronger than 30% by volume. GLYCERINE
Glycerine is frequently used when a high viscosity fluid is required, sometimes diluted
with water. Glycerine can also be used in low concentrations to adjust the refractive
index if a solution. Glycerine is relatively safe to use: it is frequently a component of
The guidance given in §5.3.1 for water applies also to glycerine. However, in
Minimise contact with skin. Can cause dehydration of skin.
Dilute spills with water if necessary, and always rinse with clean (preferably hot)
water at the end.
Dispose of glycerine down the drain, diluting with copious quantities of water.
Paper towels used to mop up glycerine may be disposed of via the normal
laboratory rubbish bins.
Be aware that glycerine can be extremely slippery as it acts as a lubricant.
Handle glycerine drums with care. The weight of these drums often exceeds the
limits that may be handled safely by one person. GOLDEN SYRUP AND TREACLE
Golden syrup and treacle are sometimes used when a high viscosity fluid is required,
sometimes diluted with water. These sugar products are relatively safe to use: it is
frequently a component of foods.
The guidance given in §5.3.1 for water applies also to golden syrup and treacle.
However, in addition:
Dilute spills with water if necessary, and always rinse with warm soapy water at
the end.
Dispose of golden syrup and treacle down the drain, diluting with copious
quantities of water.
Failure to clean up a spill adequately may attract insects and other pests. SILICON OIL AND SILICON FLUID
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory for low viscosity oils
Unlike glycerine, golden syrup and treacle, silicon oil is insoluble in water and has a
viscosity that is only weakly dependent on temperature. It comes in a broad range of
different viscosities, ranging from fluids comparable with water, to ones that are
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extremely viscous. The low viscosity fluids have low boiling and flash point, while the
higher viscosity fluids are relatively inert.
Avoid prolonged contact.
Do not dispose of silicon oil/fluid down the drain. Instead, all waste oil/fluid must
be placed in a sealed container and the Head Technician informed that it needs to
be disposed of.
Mop up spillages using absorbent material such as paper towels, and place these
in a rubbish bag.
Clean surfaces using detergent and hot water. Note that even after vigorous
cleaning a thin film of silicon oil/fluid is likely to remain.
Do not use low viscosity silicon oil/fluid without adequate ventilation and
precautions against ignition. OTHER SOLVENTS
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Do not use any solvents without prior consultation.
5.3.3 Salts and sugars SODIUM CHLORIDE
The majority of the salt used in the laboratory is sodium chloride (common salt).
Avoid spillages and sweep up any accidental spills immediately.
Salt solutions are highly corrosive and may render previously safe equipment
unsafe, so avoid splashes etc.
Do not use salt solutions with equipment not designed for such uses. Failure to
observe this will lead to damage to the tank, potential spills and electrolysis
reactions. If in doubt, please ask.
Always rinse with fresh water any tanks, pumps, pipes or other equipment used
with salt solutions.
If you are using electrolysis for any reason, do not collect the evolved hydrogen
and chlorine gas in a container. SUCROSE
Sucrose (sugar) is sometimes used as a less diffusive alternative to salt for changing
the density of the fluid. Sugar is also optically active (i.e. it changes the angle of the
polarisation vector of polarised light). As it is a foodstuff, sugar is relatively safe to
Avoid spillages and sweep up any accidental spills immediately. Rise with fresh
water to remove any sticky residue.
Always rinse with fresh water any tanks, pumps or other equipment used with
sugar solutions.
Failure to clean up a spill adequately may attract insects and other pests.
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Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Do not use salts other than sodium chloride without prior consultation. Be aware that
many inorganic salts produce high pH, caustic solutions and both the salt and solution
may need to be disposed of a hazardous waste.
Use of eye/face protection, gloves and lab coats is required when handling the
salts or solutions, unless evidence is provided in the Risk Assessment that such
measures are unnecessary.
Avoid spillages and sweep up any accidental spills immediately.
Beware of transfer from contaminated surfaces.
Do not rub eyes or face and always wash contaminated skin or clothing as soon as
Salt solutions are highly corrosive and may render previously safe equipment
unsafe, so avoid splashes etc.
Do not use salt solutions with equipment not designed for such uses. Failure to
observe this will lead to damage to the tank, potential spills and electrolysis
reactions. If in doubt, please ask.
Always rinse with fresh water any tanks, pumps or other equipment used with salt
Check disposal regulations before disposing of salt or flushing solutions down the
If you are using electrolysis for any reason, do not collect the evolved gases.
5.3.4 Dyes
The main dyes used in the laboratory are food colourings and sodium fluorescein. FOOD COLOURING
Avoid spillages and mop up any accidental spills immediately.
Avoid contact with hands or clothes. Disposable gloves are available by the
entrance to the main laboratory.
Do not use bleach to try to remove dye from skin.
Where possible, avoid using in high concentrations. SODIUM FLUORESCEIN
Avoid spillages and mop up any accidental spills immediately.
Avoid contact with hands or clothes. Disposable gloves are available by the
entrance to the main laboratory.
Do not use bleach to try to remove dye from skin.
Where possible, avoid using in high concentrations.
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Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) has historically often been used to create streaks of
dye by dropping the crystals through the water column and for dye absorption
measurements as it is of a consistent quality and, when used in conjunction with green
light, has close to the ideal exponential behaviour.
However, potassium permanganate is harmful (it is readily absorbed through the
skin) and an oxidising agent under the definitions of COSHH. Moreover, it is not
longer permissible to dispose of it down the drain: it must instead be treated as
hazardous waste. Refer to the material safety data sheet and the University’s effluent
guidance for further details.
Avoid spillages and mop up any accidental spills immediately.
Treat as hazardous waste.
Avoid contact with hands or clothes. Disposable gloves are available by the
entrance to the main laboratory.
Do not use bleach to try to remove dye from skin.
Where possible, avoid using in high concentrations. OTHER DYES
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Do not use without prior consultation. A thorough Risk Assessment including COSHH
documentation is required.
5.3.5 Cleaning agents WETTING AGENT
It is often necessary to add wetting agent in an experiment, either to change the
contact angle (and, for example, allow particles to be suspended within a flow), or to
reduce the surface tension.
Normally, dishwasher rinse aid or household detergent is used. These products are
formulated in a similar manner and do not represent a significant health hazard.
Dilute spills with water if necessary, and always rinse with clean water at the end.
Avoid using excessive quantities.
Be aware that the wetting agent can act as a lubricant. BLEACH
Bleach may be used to remove the colour from an experiment where food colouring
has been used. Note that this is most effective with red food colouring.
Avoid using too much bleach: the oxidation reaction to remove the colour takes
some time.
Avoid splashing bleach onto clothes, skin or other equipment. For clothing and
skin, remove splashes immediately with fresh water. For equipment, wipe the
bleach off, disconnecting from electric supply if appropriate.
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Do not use bleach to clean your hands.
Do not use concentrated bleach to clean work surfaces or equipment.
Do not use bleach, even when diluted, to clean aluminium components.
5.3.6 Other chemicals
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Do not use without prior consultation. Explicit note of the dangers and control
measures must be made in the Risk Assessment, and COSSH details must be
Always ensure you are familiar with the requirements for safe handling and
Kits for dealing with chemical spills are located in each laboratory.
Containers are available for the safe disposal of excess or used chemicals. Notify
the Head Technician or Director or the Laboratory who will arrange for the safe
disposal of the residue.
Use hazard warning labels.
Lab coats, chemical aprons, long trousers and impervious footwear must be worn
when handling hazardous chemicals.
5.4 Particles
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory for particles not covered explicitly in this
Particles have two main uses in the Laboratory: as passive tracers for measuring
velocity, and as an additive to change the density in multi-phase flows. Most particles
used are relatively inert, with the chief hazard arising from breathing in dust.
Basic safety measures are outlined below, with additional measures for specific
types in the subsequent subsections.
Carefully sweep or mop up any spilt particles.
Be aware that spills can be very slippery, particularly if the particles are
approximately spherical in geometry.
Avoid the creation of dust.
If the handling of the particles is liable to create a dust, use a protective mask and
goggles. Always use such protection when transferring particles to or from sieves
or other activities where particles are strongly agitated. Protective masks must be
suitable for dust and eye protection must be of a form that seals to the face.
Ensure that dust cannot enter other equipment.
Keep the particle storage and handling areas tidy, sweeping up any spillages.
Be aware that particles in slurries or suspensions can become airborne through the
creation of droplets and/or as the result of the carrier fluid
The Granular Flow Chute can represent a significant source of dust and warrants a
more detailed analysis and Risk Assessment. The use of this facility is covered in
greater detail in §6.2.
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5.4.1 Pliolite
The main use for Pliolite is as a neutrally buoyant tracer for PIV and PTV
measurements. Pliolite comes in a broad range of different types, each of a different
chemical composition and specific density (in the range 1.02 to 1.05). The commercial
use for Pliolite is as the resin in solvent-based paints. We use Pliolite before it has
been dissolved in a solvent. At this stage, the resin is in the form of friable granules
that are an opaque white in appearance and are readily dispersed in water with the aid
of a little wetting agent. Pliolite particles are normally sieved to obtain the correct size
range; sometimes it is necessary to sieve them first. Follow the basic safety measures
as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.4.2 ChemiGum
The use of ChemiGum is very similar to that of Pliolite (see §5.4.1). While optically it
is less good (being slightly off-white in colour), the density close to that of fresh water
makes it particularly valuable in some circumstances. Follow the basic safety
measures as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.4.3 Polystyrene
Polystyrene particles are used in both their unexpanded (dense) and expanded (low
density) forms for a variety of purposes. In their unexpanded form they are slightly
denser than fresh water and can be used as a substitute for Pliolite, or for glass
ballotini. The particles are commonly approximately spherical, which can make them
very slippery when spilled. The low density expanded polystyrene particles are very
mobile and can easily spread throughout the laboratory, so good housekeeping is
essential. Follow the basic safety measures as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.4.4 Glass ballotini
Glass ballotini are used as suspended particles, as porous media, and for a variety of
other purposes. They are available in sizes ranging from around 0.1mm up to several
centimetres in size. The particles are approximately spherical in shape and are
available in well graded sizes. Cohesion between neighbouring particles is very small
and they are readily wet. Follow the basic safety measures as outlined at the start of
5.4.5 Pearlescence
Pearlescence is available in two forms in the Laboratory: natural Pearlescence
(crystals of guanine extracted from fish scales and widely used as glitter in cosmetics)
and artificial Pearlescence (flakes of mica coated with titanium dioxide and other
relatively inert chemicals are widely used in metallic paints, as colorants for plastics,
etc.). Both align themselves with the shear in a flow and provide a method of
visualising the length scales found in the flow.
Natural Pearlescence comes as a slurry suspended in a carrier fluid such as
propan2ol or glycerine, whereas artificial Pearlescence comes in the form of a dry
powder. Both disperse easily in water. The natural Pearlescence will dissolve over a
day or two in tap water, while the artificial varieties are immune to all solvents likely
to be used in the Laboratory. The principal hazard comes from the artificial
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Pearlescence in that it is readily suspended in air. However, as the particles are
relatively large and dense, it will quickly settle again. Follow the basic safety
measures as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.4.6 Silicon carbide
Silicon carbide (industrial grinding powder) is primarily used to create dense, particleladen flows where the density of the suspended particles is dynamically important and
their settling changes the concentration of particles over time. The particles, which are
available in a broad range of graded sizes, are dark grey in colour, angular in
geometry, and have a specific density of around 3.2gcm-3. Follow the basic safety
measures as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.4.7 Titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide is widely used as the white pigment in paints, toothpaste, and a
broad variety of other products. It is an extremely inert material, the principal hazard
arising from the potential for fine dust. Its use in the Laboratory overlaps closely with
that of silicon carbide. Follow the basic safety measures as outlined at the start of §5.4.
5.5 Biological
Biological hazards fall into two groups: unintentional biological organisms and
projects studying biological processes.
5.5.1 Unintentional biological organisms
The presence of unintentional organisms within the Laboratory can impose a real
and significant risk. For example, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires Disease
thrive in warm, stagnant water (such as an experimental tank that is not emptied, or a
section of pipe work that has not been used for some time), and then dispersed in
small water droplets generated by an experimental procedure (which might be simply
draining/cleaning the tank). Similarly, many insects such as mosquitoes will lay their
eggs in stagnant water.
Unintentional biological organisms may be present in the Laboratory for a variety
of reasons. However, the most likely causes are poor housekeeping. For example,
failing to clean up spills of golden syrup. Tanks and vessels of water should not be
allowed to stand for longer than necessary due to the possible growth of bacteria,
algae and insect larvae. Although regular testing of water outlets is undertaken, hoses
and water outlets should be flushed carefully directly down the drain before use to
remove any residual risk of listeria and other water-bourn pathogens.
Drain tanks after use.
Clean up spillages.
Take care and consider wearing a mask when draining or cleaning a tank that has
been allowed to stagnate.
Be careful when turning on taps, especially if the tap has not been used for some
time. Allow the water to flow for short time before using it to fill a tank.
Report any drain blockage or sewage smells.
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Mop up spills.
7. Cover tanks that might be attractive to insects (e.g. golden syrup).
Note that the problem with stagnation applies to fresh water. Salt solutions, especially
those with very high salt concentrations, are much less prone to biological growth.
However, solutions with organic compounds (including food colouring, sugar,
glycerine, etc.) can see much higher levels of biological growth.
Insects (e.g. wasps), moulds and other organisms can also represent a significant
hazard to some people and are typically the result of poor house keeping and
laboratory procedures.
The low level windows in Pavilion A can also provide an entry point for small
animals such as frogs.
5.5.2 Biological organisms intended for experiments
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Experiments utilising biological organisms, either alive or dead, are limited to
Hazard Group 1 microorganisms, plants and insects. Organisms can include both
natural strains and Class 1 genetically modified strains. In all cases a Risk Assessment
is required, even if the organisms are only stored in the Laboratory (see §2.3.4). Plans
to move to other categories, groups or classes of organisms must be discussed with the
Biological Safety Officer at an early stage.
Specific rules and generic Risk Assessments for work in this are can be found
5.6 Optical
Powerful light sources are frequently used in a wide range of experiments. These light
sources can cause damage to eyes if viewed directly. The two categories of light
sources in common use: projecting light sources and diffuse light sources. However,
the lack of light is also a potential hazard.
The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations, introduced in 2010,
govern the use of all sources of optical radiation, not just lasers. There are four groups of
Exempt Group Sources such as office lighting, computer monitors and indicator lamps that
are safe for normal use.
Risk Group 1 – Low Risk Only pose a risk if very prolonged direct exposure.
Risk Group 2 – Moderate Risk Safe for accidental exposure for most people, relying
on normal aversion response, e.g. standard slide projectors.
Risk Group 3 – High Risk Sources that pose a risk even for momentary or brief
exposure. Control measures are mandatory.
This section deals with the most common sources found in the Laboratory that fall into
Risk Group 3 by design or application. University guidance can be found on the Safety Office
web pages.
5.6.1 Dark
Many of the experimental techniques used in the laboratory require very low levels of
ambient illumination. The dark thus created can cause things that would normally be
safe to become a significant risk.
Ensure your work area is kept free of clutter and trip hazards.
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Never place open chemicals where they may be knocked in the dark.
Ensure your route out remains clear.
If necessary, use the knock-down switch to turn off equipment in an emergency
rather than fumbling in the dark.
In some parts of the Laboratory, auto luminescent tape has been used to indicate
key features.
5.6.2 Projecting light sources
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory for arc lamps of all powers and halogen
lamps exceeding 250W
The three main types of projecting light sources are standard slide projectors, 1kW
linear photographic lamps and arc lamps. Seek guidance before using other light
The output from some of these far exceeds the 25W/m2 radiant exposure limit
permissible for lasers, but the regulations governing them are phrased differently. Care
must therefore be taken both in the design of the experimental setup and in the
operational procedures used to ensure there is no chance of looking at the beam or a
specula reflection of it. It is good experimental practice, in general, to contain and
mask the projected light as much as possible. This not only reduces the chance of
accidental exposure, but also cuts down on stray light that might reduce the contrast or
signal to noise ratio of your visualisations.
Never look directly at the light source.
Ensure others cannot accidentally look directly at the light source. This is
especially important for those working in the open plan areas of the lab.
Prevent specula reflections by suitable shielding or masking of the light.
Do not locate the light sources close to flammable or delicate materials.
Do not impede airflow through ventilation slots.
The lamps should not be located closer to the tank than (a) 0.5m for slide
projectors, (b) 1m for 1kW photographic lamps and (c) 1.5m for the 300W arc
Ensure items of clothing, hands etc. cannot accidentally enter the light beam
closer than the distances given above as this may result in burning.
If masking the light beam closer than the distances given above, use only nonflammable materials (e.g. aluminium) and attach a warning (“Hot!”) as
Where feasible, use a ‘cold mirror’ to reduce the heat in the beam. Also consider
using a coloured mirror to filter out the unnecessary wavelengths.
Arc lamps:
Specific additional guidance can be found on the Safety Office web pages.
5.6.3 Diffuse visible light sources
Typically, these take the form of fluorescent lights, either singly or in banks of
multiple lights. For visible light, these sources do not represent a danger over and
above those associated with their electrical and mechanical nature.
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. Hazards
5.6.4 Lasers
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory for all lasers
The rooms in the Pavilion H Laboratory have been designed with the use of lasers in
mind. However, substantial additional safety measures are required before lasers may
be used. Please refer to the University Code of Practice for lasers and consult with the
Departmental Laser Officer.
Often you will find it simpler and more convenient to use some other form of light
source (e.g. arc lamp) rather than a laser.
Specific usage rules and generic Risk Assessments for the lasers held by the
Biological Physics group may be found on the web.
Any work with lasers must comply with the Laboratory’s Laser Safety Policy (see
§2.3.2) and the University’s Code of Practice governing the use of lasers.
5.6.5 Ultraviolet light sources
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory for all ultraviolet light sources
A full Risk Assessment must be made for any work utilising ultraviolet light sources.
This Risk Assessment must consider not only the possibility of damage to skin, eyes,
but also the generation of ozone and possible damage to materials and other
Specific usage rules and generic Risk Assessments for the UV sources held by the
Biological Physics group may be found on the web.
The University has issued a Code of Practice governing the use of UV sources.
5.7 Heat
Note that the use of mercury thermometers is strongly discouraged due to the
contamination that can occur in the event of breakage (see §5.11 for clean-up
procedures). Please use spirit-based or electronic thermometers wherever possible.
5.7.1 Hotplates and heat baths
Hotplates and heat baths have the potential to cause serious burns, either by direct
contact, or through spillages or leaks of the fluid or other substance being heated. Care
should be taken in the positioning of these, to ensure any accidental spillage or leak
cannot burn anyone. Any associated equipment must be checked to ensure it can
withstand the temperatures to which it is exposed. Note that the period of exposure is
important as well as the temperature. Some materials (e.g. PVC) can withstand short
periods at high temperatures (above 50C), but will suffer creep, distortion and
premature failure if exposed for longer periods.
Heat baths and hotplates must not be used to heat solutions of volatile (especially
flammable) solvents, and heat baths should not be used with corrosive chemicals (e.g.
salt water). Care must also be taken to ensure heat baths are never used under dry
5.7.2 Immersion heaters
Immersion heaters must only be used in equipment that is designed for this purpose.
The use of inappropriate materials or accidental contact with surfaces incapable of
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. Hazards
withstanding the high temperatures of the heating element can both damage the
equipment and gives rise to the risk of serious burns.
Immersion heaters must only be used in conjunction with a RCD, and the fluid in
the tank should be independently earthed. Care must also be taken to ensure
immersion heaters are never used under dry conditions, or with fluids containing
corrosive or volatile components (e.g. potassium permanganate or alcohol).
5.7.3 Heat from light sources
Light sources provide the dual risk of direct heat from the casing and, especially in the
case of arc lamps, a considerable amount of radiated heat. Refer to §5.5.1 for further
5.7.4 Freezers and cryostatic circulators
Cold can not only cause ‘cold burns’, but also cause materials to become brittle and
prone to fracture.
Always wear suitable gloves when removing items from a freezer or which are
cooled to less than freezing point. Note that thin latex gloves or gloves that can
absorb water are not suitable.
Be aware that sudden changes in temperature (e.g. hot water into cold glass) can
cause materials to fail and the contents to spill.
Ensure the cooling fluid in a cooling bath or cryostatic circulator has a freezing
point well below the required working temperature. Inadvertent freezing of the
cooling fluid can lead to leaks and equipment damage.
5.7.5 Autoclave
The autoclave, located in Pavilion H, generates very high temperatures internally to
sterilise equipment and wastes from biological activities.
Ensure only compatible materials are placed in the autoclave.
Select appropriate program given materials and purpose for autoclave use.
Ensure that autoclave and all items it contains have cooled sufficiently before
attempting to empty or refill autoclave.
Ensure the autoclave is tested annually.
5.7.6 Temperature controlled laboratory
Risk Assessment: Mandatory
The temperature controlled laboratory (TCL) is capable of temperatures ranging from
40 to +30C. The TCL consists of two rooms: an outer room used for observation,
and an inner room. The outer room is at normal room temperature, whereas the inner
room can be well below freezing. Hazards include embrittlement of materials, cold
burns, and hypothermia.
Wear suitable protective clothing when working in the TCL for even a short time.
Always wear gloves when working at subzero temperatures.
Do not work alone if the temperature is below freezing.
Do not use equipment outside the temperature range for which it was designed.
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. Hazards
Be aware that sudden changes in temperature (e.g. hot water into cold glass) can
cause materials to fail and the contents to spill.
Ensure the doorway to the inner room and the goods door remain clear of
obstructions. These doors are fitted with heating circuits to prevent icing up.
Ensure the emergency call and emergency shutdown buttons remain accessible
and are not iced up (they are fitted with a warming unit to prevent icing under
normal circumstances).
A more complete discussion of the use of the TCL and restrictions on its use may be
found in §6.1.
5.7.7 Naked flames
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
Hot Work Permit: May be required
Naked flames are not permitted in the Laboratory, except in specifically designated
areas. Failure to adhere to this requirement is likely to trigger the sensitive fire alarm
Any proposal to use naked flames must be discussed in advance with the Safety
Officer. In all cases a detailed Risk Assessment will be required. A daily Hot Work
Permit may also be required, depending on the control measures put in place to reduce
the risk.
5.8 Pressure
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory if compressed air used
Although compressed air is available throughout the Laboratory, it is important to
recognise that it can be very dangerous. The air is produced and distributed at 10 bar
and is capable of a flow rate in excess of 140litres/s at atmospheric pressure.
Associated hazards include
 Failure of pressure vessels or tubing.
 Formation of aerosols and resuspension of particles.
 Damage to eyes or skin.
 Noise.
Compressed air may only be used with apparatus designed with it in mind. Such
apparatus must be attached via a suitable regulator and gauge, and the shut off valve
must remain accessible. If the apparatus is not certified for use at the production
pressure (10 bar), then it must include a pressure relief valve in its design.
The shut off valve must remain readily and safely accessible, even in the event of
equipment failure. In the event of major problems, it may be necessary to shut off the
compressed air to the whole of the Laboratory in which you are working. In the
Ambient Flow Facility, there is an isolation valve alongside the main stair between
levels -1 and -1.5. For the other components of the laboratory, although there are
isolation valves at high level where the airline enters the Pavilion C laboratory, and
where it passes from Pavilion A to Pavilion H, the simplest route is to have a
technician or member of the facilities staff shut off the air at the compressor. Note that
the pipework will remain pressurised until the excess pressure is bled off through an
open outlet or leak.
In all cases, a specific Risk Assessment is required before use.
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. Hazards
5.9 Use outside design specification
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory if used outside design specification
Equipment should normally be used for the purpose envisaged by the manufacturer
and within the manufacturer’s design specification. For equipment constructed in the
Laboratory, any significant deviation from previous usage must be discussed with the
Director of the Laboratory. Similarly, any use of commercial equipment outside the
design specification must be discussed first with the Director of the Laboratory.
Failure to do so may damage the equipment and/or render it unsafe.
Use of equipment outside its design specification will normally require a greater
level of detail to be incorporated in the Risk Assessment. In some cases, a regular
testing and maintenance programme may be required.
5.10 Noise
5.10.1 Low levels of noise
Most of the apparatus in the laboratory is relatively quiet and represents no direct
hazard. No special provision is required, except for those items listed under sections
5.9.2 and 5.9.3.
5.10.2 Moderate levels of noise
The following fixed items, however, produce noise levels which may become
hazardous through prolonged exposure or if working close to the source of the noise:
 The large flume (Pavilion A)
 The small flume (AFF, level -1)
 Cold Room (Pavilion C)
The following points should be considered
The noise levels may cause fatigue, headaches or other signs of stress if subject to
prolonged exposure.
The use of ear protection and frequent breaks is recommended for all use
extending beyond 20 minutes if you are working in the general proximity of the
noise source.
The use of ear protection is required for those working within 2m of the noise
Try to avoid using the apparatus while others are sharing the lab space.
Warn other users of the lab space and make sure they have ear protection
5.10.3 High levels of noise
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
The following items produce levels of noise which are potentially harmful even with
only short exposure:
 Recirculating granular flow chute
The following points should be considered
The noise levels may cause fatigue, headaches or other signs of stress if subject to
exposure even for modest periods.
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. Hazards
The use of ear protection is required at all times when working on the equipment.
Frequent breaks are recommended.
Ear protection is also required for visitors viewing the equipment in operation.
The impact of the noise on other users of the laboratory must be considered. Do
they require ear protection? What is the ‘safe’ distance? (Ear protection should be
made available to other users, even if the Risk Assessment does not require them
to wear it.)
Try to avoid using the apparatus while others are sharing the lab space.
Consider what measures may be made to reduce the acoustic radiation.
5.11 Breakages
The occasional breakage is inevitable in the laboratory. However you should always
exercise care to avoid breakages and, if one occurs, clean up any materials spilt, or
cordon off the area until remedial action has been taken.
In the case of broken equipment, please report this as soon as possible to the Head
Technician or Director.
Protect any sharp or dangerous edges immediately.
For broken glassware, carefully sweep up all glass fragments and dispose of in the
“Broken Glass” container located in the chemical store and in each of the
individual laboratories.
Other sharp items can be disposed of in the “Sharps” container located in the
chemical store and in each of the individual laboratories.
For broken mercury thermometers, seal the remains in a plastic bag. A kit for
dealing with the spilt mercury is located in the chemical store. Follow the
instructions on this kit. It is better to overestimate the size of the contaminated
area than to underestimate it. Always use gloves for this operation, and avoid
walking through the contaminated area; fence off if appropriate. Label all bags
appropriately and pass over to the Head Technician for disposal. All spillages of
mercury must be reported to the Head Technician and Safety Officer 1.
Deal with other chemical spills in the manner stipulated in the appropriate safety
literature. You should ensure you are familiar with the relevant procedures (e.g.
those stated in the relevant COSHH data sheets, available from the Head
Technician) prior to using any chemicals.
Liquid containment wadding and other materials used for containing or cleaning
up a spill are located in the chemical store. High risk activities may require
containment material to be kept nearby.
5.12 Lifting
Many of the items in the laboratory are heavy or awkward to move. What is meant by
‘heavy’ depends not only on the weight of the object, but also on its shape/size and on
the individual(s) doing the lifting. As a rule of thumb, anything weighing more than
1/3 your body weight or weighing more than 25kg (whichever is lower) is considered
‘heavy’. Any item that does not have good hand-holds, that you can not carry close to
The Safety Officer keeps a record of any such spills.
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. Hazards
your body, that requires your arms to be fully extended, or that you cannot carry
without bending over is considered ‘awkward’.
Always lift with your knees bent and your back straight.
Never lift by sharp edges or thin parts.
Ensure your handhold is sufficiently strong and secure.
Ensure all attached items are secure and not likely to fall.
Always seek help to lift large or heavy items.
Make sure your route is clear of hazards before starting to move the item.
Trolleys, a mobile hoist and lifting platforms (stackers) are available from the
workshop to assist in the movement of large or heavy items.
Consult the Technicians before attempting to move anything weighing over 50kg.
5.13 Falls and injury
As with most of the other safety issues, exercising due care will minimise the
likelihood of falls and injuries. It may be best, however, on medical grounds for some
people to avoid certain activities.
5.13.1 Falls
Never run in the laboratory.
Mop up any spills immediately.
Never position cables or equipment across access ways.
Never stand on chairs - ladders are available.
Never stand on the very top of the ladder (i.e. no higher than the large “platform”
Do not use a ladder if you are in the third trimester of a pregnancy.
The University has issued a Code of Practice governing the use of ladders.
5.13.2 Injury
A First Aider may be summoned by phoning reception (65000) or (if reception is
not manned) the University Security Service (101) from any internal phone.
The Head Technician is one of the Departmental First Aiders.
Wash all minor cuts under clean running water immediately.
An emergency drench shower is located in the wash-down area immediately
outside the main chemical store. Smaller hand-held shower units are also to be
found in Pavilion H (in the corridor around the stair well) and the AFF (just inside
the main entrance). These should be used if you have a major chemical spill or
contamination to your clothing.
An eye rinse is available in the workshop and the First Aid room in Pavilion F
(accessible by a first aider). Alternatively, and often more effectively, wash your
eyes using the drinking fountain in the corridor of Pavilion H or with one of the
hand-held showers. You should run the fountain/shower for a few seconds before
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. Hazards
directing it at your eyes in order to remove any contamination. You should not use
taps or sinks in the laboratories for this purpose.
Use tools correctly: use the correct size and do not force; knives should be
retracted or sheathed after use; “snap off” blades should be disposed on in the
“Sharps” container under the sink by the entrance to the main laboratory.
Report all injuries (even minor cuts) to the Head Technician.
5.14 Clutter
Clutter and general untidiness is bad laboratory practice. While not normally a risk in
its own right, it acts as a multiplying factor for other risks. The clutter can obscure
other issues, moving and working around clutter can increase the likelihood of
knocking equipment, prevent access to controls, or hamper ‘escape’ routes. Untidiness
will generally get in the way of doing good science, and is frequently unfair to others
with whom you may be sharing equipment or laboratory space.
The small amount of time required to keep things reasonably tidy (no one expects
perfect tidiness) generally pays dividends for all working in the Laboratory.
Equipment put away where it should be prevents damage and makes it easier for
others to find.
5.15 Clothing
Always wear sensible suitable clothing and footwear in the laboratory.
Do not wear loose clothing or jewellery that might catch in equipment.
Do not wear tops with over-long or baggy sleeves that may drape in tanks or
Do not have bare feed or use open-toed footwear in the lab.
Ensure long hair is restrained to avoid entanglement.
Lab coats are available to protect clothing if desired.
Lab coats must be worn when working in the biological laboratories.
Lab coats, chemical aprons, long trousers and impervious footwear must be worn
when handling hazardous chemicals.
Footwear with toe protectors must be worn when moving heavy equipment or
using a crane or hoist.
The prohibition against bare feet and open toed footwear such as sandals or flip-flops
is not only to protect against injuries from objects falling onto feet, but also against
stubs, cuts, contamination from chemicals, slipping, etc.
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High-risk Facilities
6 High-risk Facilities
Target Audience: Users of the facilities described
This section describes the additional dangers, restrictions and procedures relevant
to the use of certain fixed installations that pose a significantly higher base level of
6.1 Temperature Controlled Laboratory
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
The Temperature Controlled Laboratory (TCL; frequently referred to as the Cold
Room) is a unique facility offering close control over ambient temperatures between
+30C and -40C through the use of dual cooling circuits in conjunction with heating
circuits. While it is intended that the Room can be used anywhere in this temperature
range, it is envisaged that the majority of usage will be at or significantly below
The thermal environment within the TCL poses a significantly greater danger than
other parts of the Laboratory. In order to minimise the risk associated with use of the
TCL then additional procedures must be followed. To monitor the use of the TCL and
compliance with the procedures, additional documentation is also required, both as
part of the Risk Assessment and on a day-to-day operational basis.
The principal risk associated with this experiment is the extreme cold conditions
combined with a strong wind-chill due to the air circulation. These pose the following
dangers to the experimentalist:
 Cold burns from contact with high-conductivity surfaces such as metal work
 Hypothermia due to heat loss from prolonged exposure to the low temperatures
 Slippery conditions due to the formation of ice on the floors within the TCL
 The above dangers would be significantly increased in the event of a fall or
other accident that may cause the experimentalist to become trapped within the
Generic measures to reduce risk
Minimising the danger associated with the use of the TCL is achieved through a
combination of built in design features and management procedures.
The TCL has a number of design features to reduce the risk of accidental hypothermia,
falls and becoming trapped. These include:
 Timed door interlocks that will sound an alarm if not reset within set time of
entering the TCL
 If alarm sounds for more than five minutes then the TCL will automatically
shutdown the chillers and activate the heaters to return the room temperature to
normal room temperatures (~20C).
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High-risk Facilities
The air supply is dried to minimise ice formation within room
The floor is heated to prevent excessive ice formation on the floor
The door seals are heated to prevent the doors from freezing shut
The room has two exits: one through an airlock for normal entry/exit, and the
second directly outside for emergency escape (and access for equipment when
the room is not running)
The Room has heated viewing panels that allow monitoring of the experiment
without entering the room, and monitoring of any researchers within the room
A ‘panic’ button is installed within the TCL. This button both operates an
external alarm and places the TCL into a heating mode.
Operation of the TCL is controlled by a key switch
An extensive set of operational procedures has been developed to facilitate the safe
use of the TCL. The main elements of these are summarised here.
 Buddy system. Work in the TCL at temperatures below +10C requires a Buddy
to oversee the ongoing safety of the Researcher. The extent of the role of the
Buddy is dependent on the temperature within the TCL and the nature of the
experiments being undertaken. However, in all cases it is the Buddy’s
responsibility to provide routine checks on the whereabouts and condition of
the Researcher while the TCL is in use.
 User training. This covers both the practical aspects of controlling the TCL and
the Safety Procedures that must be adhered to in the use of the TCL. The
training is provided by authorised personnel (principally the Head Technician).
This training is documented on an induction sheet. Both the Researcher(s) and
their Buddy must receive training.
 Risk Assessment. A detailed Risk Assessment is mandatory and must be
completed by the researcher and approved by the Laboratory Safety Officer (or
deputy) prior to starting to use the TCL. This Risk Assessment must include a
discussion of how the various generic risks and measures given here relate to
the envisaged experiment. The Risk Assessment must also highlight any
additional risks and measures not stated here that may impact the safety of the
researcher or other personnel (including emergency personnel).
 Permission to start. This must be gained (and the permission sheet signed) from
the Laboratory Safety Officer (or deputy). Permission will not be granted until
the Researcher and Buddy have received adequate training and the Laboratory
Safety Officer (or deputy) is satisfied all necessary measures are in place and
the procedures will be adhered to. This permission will be for use only within a
specific range of temperatures. Permission must be sought again if
temperatures are required outside this range.
 Access to room. Access to the TCL is controlled by a key that must be signed
for by both the Researcher and the Buddy at the beginning of each period when
access is to the TCL is required. This key must be returned and signed back in
at the end of each such period, at which point the Research must also certify
that the procedures were followed and formally report any problems that arose.
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High-risk Facilities
Safety equipment. The very low temperatures and strong air currents within the
TCL make the use of specialised clothing mandatory over most of the
temperature range:
+30 to +15C Normal laboratory clothing is adequate
+15 to +5C If working in conjunction with another Researcher (or
Buddy) who is always in the locality of the TCL then indoor clothing
may be worn, provided periods of work within the room are limited to a
maximum of five minutes. In all other cases outdoor (winter) clothing
must be warn whenever entering the room.
+5 to 0C If working in conjunction with another Researcher (or
Buddy) who is always in the locality of the TCL then outdoor (winter)
clothing may be worn, provided periods of work within the room are
limited to a maximum of ten minutes. In all other cases thermal
clothing must be warn whenever entering the room.
0 to -5C Thermal clothing must be worn whenever entering the TCL.
Thermal boots and gloves are recommended, but not mandatory.
Maximum exposure to be determined as part of specific Risk
Below -5C Full thermal clothing, including thermal boots and gloves,
are mandatory. Maximum exposure to be determined as part of specific
Risk Assessment.
Below -15C The Buddy must always be present in the locality of the
TCL when the Researcher enters the room. Maximum exposure to be
determined as part of specific Risk Assessment
Below -20C Additional measures are required. These must be
discussed with the Laboratory Safety Officer and documented before
permission will be granted.
Noise levels. The cooling units generate significant levels of mechanical noise.
Consequently, researchers are required to wear ear defenders if remaining in
the TCL for periods of more than 10 minutes.
Medical. All Researchers wishing to use the TCL below +5C will be asked to
self-certify their fitness for working in such temperatures. Additionally,
Researchers wishing to use the TCL at temperatures below -10C will be
required to fill in a medical questionnaire that will be assessed by the
University’s Occupational Health Service.
Hours of use. Access to the TCL is generally available only during normal
working hours (8:00 to 17:30). Experimental programmes should be designed
with this in mind (the TCL itself may remain on over night, etc.). Special
permission must be sought from the Laboratory Safety Officer (or deputy) for
any experimental work outside this period; additional safety measures may be
Cessation of experiments. Laboratory staff are authorised to require
experimentation to cease immediately if they have any cause for concern about
the manner or environment in which the research is being conducted, or if
conditions in the TCL give concern. It remains, however, the responsibility of
the Researcher and their Buddy to ensure the maintenance of safe working
practices and conditions within the TCL.
 53 
6.2 Granular flow chute
Specific Risk Assessment: Mandatory
The granular flow chute is located in the Ambient Flow Facility. Risk factors
Noise. Ear protection must be warn by chute operator and those in close
proximity. The impact of noise on other laboratory users must be considered. See
Dust: The chute must not be operated without the dust extraction system running
and the dust-curtains installed. The chute operator must wear dust overalls and a
mask. Remove overalls in a manner that minimises the introduction of dust to the
atmosphere. Wash hands and other exposed skin before leaving the laboratory.
Mechanical: Never place hands or foreign objects in the conveyers. Keep
emergency stop buttons accessible at all times.
A more detailed Risk Assessment is available upon request.
 54 
. Equipment
7. Equipment
This section describes briefly some of the main categories of equipment
available within the Laboratory. Equipment should be treated with reasonable
care. This includes not only using dust covers, etc., to prevent accidental damage
while the equipment is not in use, but also only using equipment for the purpose
for which it was intended. In general, when you have finished using an item of
equipment, it should be put away in its normal storage location. Hiding it on a
shelf or in a cupboard in some remote corner of the lab will make it much more
difficult for others (and possibly you) to find. Please ask if in doubt about where
equipment should be stored.
7.1 Furniture
The Laboratory holds a large stock of furniture of various kinds. In general you
will be able to find furniture to meet your experimental needs, although it will
often be necessary to relocate this to where you are working and possibly
rearrange your part of the laboratory or maybe swap a specific item of furniture
with another researcher.
As with all other things within the Laboratory, furniture should be treated
with reasonable care. You should not, for example, paint or cut directly onto
table tops, or start screwing experimental apparatus directly to benches without
first consulting laboratory personnel.
Many of the benches and tables within the Laboratory have a loose cover of
flooring vinyl over them. This covering makes things easier to clean and helps
protect the surface of the table/bench. Although this covering can be replaced,
the cost is not negligible, and it should not be considered as disposable.
A range of mobile storage units are available, as are relocatable steel cabinets
for storage of experiment-specific items. In some parts of the Laboratory, mobile
sinks are used in place of permanent fixed units (see §7.6.4 for further details).
7.2 Imaging
7.2.1 Film-based
Once the main stay of experimental imaging, film is now used only
infrequently, although still offers advantages in terms of quality and sensitivity.
The Laboratory has a range of 35mm SLR cameras. Of these the Cannon A1
are the best and come equipped with motor drives capable of up to three frames
per second. Lenses include standard 50mm, macro, wide angle, telephoto and
zoom varieties. There are also bellows for ultra close work and adapters that let
you use the lenses on some of the video equipment.
There are two cine cameras. The 16mm Bolex is equipped with a servo
motor, allowing it to be used for time-lapse work, while the Hadland Photonics
Hyspeed S2 (again 16mm) can achieve 10,000 frames per second.
7.2.2 Standard video
For many years standard video equipment provided the main method of
capturing images and recording experiments within the Laboratory.
Consequently, the Laboratory has an extensive array of video equipment. Most
of this is based on PAL (colour) or CCIR (monochrome) video cameras using a
single CCD sensor. Some cameras are colour, but many are monochrome. The
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. Equipment
monochrome cameras tend to have greater sensitivity and offer the better
solution to most work in the Laboratory. Some of the cameras can operate in a
‘frame integration’ mode that, when combined with a mechanical shutter,
provides the ability for both the odd and even fields to be exposed at the same
 Cohu 4910: good quality monochrome; may be locked to mains
frequency and used with mechanical shutter. Suitable for most
 Sony XC-77R: good quality monochrome; very compact. Suitable for
most experiments.
 Panasonic F10 & F15: medium quality colour; F15 has SVHS output.
Not suitable for quantitative measurements.
 Canon XM1: very good quality colour; digital camcorder; three-CCD;
fire-wire. Suitable for experiments where colour required.
Output from these video cameras may be digitised directly (see §7.2 below),
or recorded on a Super VHS (SVHS) video tape recorder. The SVHS standard
provides a much improved spatial resolution over domestic VHS recorders,
while still providing the facility to play and record the standard VHS format.
 Panasonic AG7350: good quality; SVHS; can be controlled by DigImage.
Suitable for most experiments.
 JVC BRS-822: excellent (broadcast) quality; SVHS; can be controlled by
DigImage. Suitable for most experiments, but fiddly to use.
7.2.3 Digital video cameras
The Laboratory sports a range of modern digital video cameras. These
 AtmelGrenoble Camelia 8M: Ultra-high resolution (2.7fps; 23003500,
 JAI CVM4+: High-resolution (24 to ~120fps; ~12801024, 10-bit)
 UniqVision 1830CL-12: 1MPixel 12bit mono and colour at up to 30 fps.
 Dalsa 4M60: 4MPixel, 12 bit at up to 62 fps.
 Photron FastCam SA1.1: 1MPixel 12bit mono at up to 5400 fps (faster at
reduced resolutions).
With the exception of the Photron cameras, these digital cameras use either LVD
or CameraLink interfaces. In the Laboratory these connect to an appropriate
BitFlow R-series digital frame grabber. The systems are configured to allow full
frame rate capture directly to hard disk, thus allowing an individual image
sequence to extend to more than 100GBytes. The Photron cameras capture the
 56 
. Equipment
images using internal memory and provide an ethernet interface for subsequent
transfer to a computer.
7.2.4 Scanner
Images and art work may be captured using a scanner: there are a number of
these around the Department.
7.3 Image processing
7.3.1 DigiFlow
DigiFlow is the principal software used to capture and process images from
digital cameras. It is written and maintained in-house, but is also used in a
number of other laboratories around the world.
DigiFlow provides a convenient route to capture sequences from all the
digital cameras listed in §7.1.3, offering full bandwidth capture direct to hard
disk. DigiFlow also provides an extensive array of image processing functions
which may be used to manipulate images or extract quantitative information
from them.
7.3.2 DigImage
DigImage is the predecessor of DigiFlow and was at one time used in 36
leading laboratories around the world. At its peak, the GK Batchelor Laboratory
had seven operational systems, but this number is declining some of the
necessary hardware no longer being in production. It was developed specifically
for fluid dynamics experiments and offers an extensive array of useful functions.
While DigiFlow has taken over most of this role, DigImage still has some uses
for simpler experiments. DigImage also provides frame-accurate control of an
attached video recorder (Panasonic AG7350 or JVC BRS-822R).
DigImage only functions properly on computers running Windows 95 or 98.
The computer must also have a Data Translation DT2861 or DT2862 frame
grabber installed.
7.4 Instrumentation
7.4.1 Densitometer
7.4.2 Refractometers
Refractometers are designed to measure the refractive index of a solution by
looking at the angle for total internal reflection. For single component solutions
there is generally a one-to-one relationship between refractive index and density,
 57 
. Equipment
consequently, refractometers provide a convenient method of determining the
The Laboratory has two types of refractometer: optical and digital. Details of
the use of these devices are given below. OPTICAL REFRACTOMETER
These may be identified as a tubular black device, about 15cm long with an
eyepiece at one end and a flat glass surface near the other end. A drop should be
placed on the glass face and the cover held down gently with a finger. To avoid
scratching the glass face, do not touch it with glass or metal. The reading gives
the refractive index n. The density  may then be calculated using the table in
Appendix C.
n = 1.3384   = 1.0203.
Most of the optical refractometers have more than one scale. Other scales can
include ‰ NaCl, %Brix, and urea concentration. DIGITAL REFRACTOMETER
This is a grey plastic box about 15cm long, 7cm wide and 2cm thick. On the
top surface is a small glass plate with a metal surround, an LCD display and two
buttons. The reading on the display is in Brix%, a scale used for measuring the
strength of glucose solutions.
Drip solution onto prism at centre of stainless steel stage until prism is
Press START/OFF button.
Read measurement.
Mop up test solution with tissue, wipe prism with clear damp tissue, dry.
Either wait 5 minutes for display to switch off or hold down START/OFF
button until display switches off or take another measurement.
The relationship between density of salt water and Brix% is given in the
table in Appendix C. For convenience, it is also plotted below and is well
approximated by
 = 0.9982 + 5.799x10-3B + 3.732x10-5B2.
As with the optical refractometer, to avoid scratching the glass face: do not
touch it with glass or metal.
 58 
. Equipment
Calibration of digital refractometer against densitometer
Quadratic fit to all points:
ρ=0.99815 + 5.79937E-03 B + 3.73159E-05 B2, Erms=3.97514E-04
Linear fit for B<10.0:
Density ρ (gcm )
ρ=0.99794 + 6.08996E-03 B, Erms=2.94633E-04
Linear fit from ’Data for Double Diffusers’ for B<17.0:
ρ=0.99822 + 6.31119E-03 B, Erms=1.13840E-03
10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 20.0 22.0 24.0 26.0 28.0 30.0
Refractometer measurement B (10 volume Brix %)
 59 
. Equipment
7.4.3 Conductivity probes
Conductivity probes measure the electrical resistance of a solution by passing a
small current between two electrodes. The current must be AC in order to prevent
electrolysis of the electrodes.
7.4.4 Temperature probes
The Laboratory has three main types of temperature probe: conventional mercury
thermometers, thermistors and thermocouples. For safety considerations, the use of
mercury thermometers is discouraged and you must discuss with the Safety Officer
why a mercury thermometer is required before you are permitted to use one. THERMISTORS
Thermistors are semiconducting devices whose resistance is a sensitive function of
temperature. THERMOCOUPLES
A small electrical potential is produced whenever two dissimilar metals are brought
into contact. This potential depends not only on the types of the two metals, but also
on the temperature. Thermocouples work by measuring this potential.
7.5 Computers
7.5.1 Safe use of computers
Computers should be used in accordance to the University’s guidelines on the safe
use of VDU screen equipment. Most of this is common sense, but includes issues such
as posture, lighting, breaks, etc.
7.5.2 Copyright
Computers in the Laboratory may only be used if you agree to abide by the
University’s Policy and its Code of Conduct concerning copyright software. The Code
of Conduct is based on the one produced by CHEST (Combined Higher Education
Software Team), but applies to all software, regardless of the route through which it
was obtained.
7.5.3 Network infrastructure
The Laboratory is fully wired with ‘category 5’ twisted pair network cabling and a
generous number of network ports. While in principle any of these ports could be
used, only a subset of them is patched to the switch at any one time. Moreover, the
ports are arranged in pairs and it is a site convention that the right-hand one is for data,
while the left-hand one is for analogue communications (e.g. telephone). The
Departmental Computer Officers will be able to advise you or activate an inactive
port, should you require this.
 60 
. Equipment
The physical network within the Laboratory has a higher performance than that in
most of the rest of CMS. Some of the data ports are connected to standard 100Mbit
switches linked directly to the CMS network, while others are connected via one of
three gigabit switches (for 4gigabit fabrics) connected by optical fibres. Only one of
these is connected to the main CMS network. This architecture has been developed to
provide the bandwidth necessary for streaming live high-resolution and/or high-speed
video across the network.
7.5.4 Workstations
All the workstations in the Laboratory have some form of data-capture capability.
In most cases this includes image capture either through DigiFlow or DigImage (see
§§7.2.1 and 7.2.2). In the former case the workstation will be running Windows NT or
XP, while in the latter case the workstation will be running an old version of Windows
(95 or 98). Those machines equipped with a frame grabber supported by DigiFlow are
fitted with gigabit network cards. Other machines will have 10 or 100Mbit cards.
Additionally, some machines have other forms of data acquisition hardware
(normally some form of analogue to digital conversion card).
The following points should be observed:
 User-ids must be obtained from the Director or Electronics Technician. While
these will normally be the same as those for the Departmental network, and you
may use your normal password, authentication of the user is provided by the
Laboratory’s own server rather than the main linux network.
 Do not attempt to install any software without first seeking permission.
 Do not keep excessive amounts of data on-line. Archive data onto CD, DVD,
MO-disk or tape when no longer required (see §7.4.4).
 Not all data is backed up automatically. Refer to §7.4.4 for details on how to
request specific datasets be backed up.
 For workstations running NT or XP:
 D:\ is local to your machine. You should store any files under D:\Users\xxx.
 You may store files on Z:\Users\xxx (located on \\lab\server).
 V:\ is used during image capture (normally to V:\Cache\). You should not leave
files on this drive any longer than essential as it will compromise your (and
others’) ability to capture.
 Do not store any information on the boot drive (C:\).
 For workstations running Windows 95 or 98
 You may store files under C:\Users\xxx or, if it exists, D:\Users\xxx.
 You may store files on Z:\Users\xxx (located on \\lab\server).
7.5.5 Servers
The Laboratory maintains a Windows 2003 server: \\lab. This, along with the more
recent workstations, is fitted with gigabit network card.
\\lab provides the main storage disk array, account verification, printer access,
software, licence management, and most of the rest of the facilities normally found on
a network. The main disk array (\\lab\server) should normally be mapped to Z: on
laboratory workstations. This may be achieved by entering
net use z: \\lab\server
 61 
. Equipment
at a command prompt.
7.5.6 Software
Software should not be installed on computers owned by the Laboratory without
first seeking permission from the Director. This includes commercial software, public
domain and shareware, and open source software. If the computer is owned by an
individual research group, you should seek permission from whoever is in charge of
the computer before installing software. In all cases, you must adhere to the
University’s software policy (see §7.4.1).
7.5.7 Backup and archive
Experiments have the potential to generate huge volume of data, particularly when
using high-speed or high-resolution digital video. Moreover, remote access to a
workstation while it is controlling an experiment or capturing data can disrupt these
processes and lead to the experiment needing to be repeated. As a consequence, there
is no automated backup of laboratory workstations. The responsibility lies with the
Researcher to ensure that critical data is backed up or archived, as appropriate. The
most cost efficient and convenient approach to this at present is the use of external
hard disk drives.
7.5.8 Printers
Printers within the Laboratory are accessible from Windows, Mac and unix
7.5.9 Laminator
A laminator, capable of laminating all sizes up to and including A2, is located in
the printer cupboard just out side the workshop in Pavilion C. Instructions on use may
be found on the laminator. Please be careful to feed the laminating pouches in closed
end first, and remember to turn the laminator off when finished. If you are unfamiliar
with the laminator, it is advisable to discuss its use with one of the Technicians first.
7.6 Services
7.6.1 Softened water
Softened water, where the majority of the calcium salts that cause lime scale have
been removed by an ion exchange process, is available in all components of the
laboratory. In Pavilions A and C, softened water is only available at some of the
outlets, whereas in Pavilion H and the AFF, every outlet has the option of raw or
softened water.
For the majority of uses, softened water is preferable as it prevents any build-up of
lime scale in the experimental apparatus. However, when very large quantities of
water are required, it may be more convenient to use raw water as this is available at a
much higher flow rate. In cases when higher purity water is required, a reverse
osmosis unit may be used to remove in excess of 90% of all contaminants (see §7.6.2).
7.6.2 Hot water
Hot water is available in all parts of the laboratory, although the method through
which it is produced varies. In Pavilions A and C, hot water is provided by means of
small local hot water cylinders mounted on the walls within the laboratory. Each of
these cylinders has its own on/off switch plus an adjustable thermostat.
 62 
. Equipment
In Pavilion H and the AFF, the hotwater is piped from a central boiler. In Pavilion
H electrical trace heating is run along the distribution pipes to ensure the water within
the pipes remains hot. In the AFF, the water is continually circulated around the
network of pipes. It is not possible to adjust the temperature of this water.
7.6.3 Saltwater
Saltwater is available on tap in parts of the Pavilion A and C laboratories, and in
the AFF. The taps are identified by labels, the use of a different format of valve
(diaphragm vales with a circular handle), and a different form of quick-release hose
coupling (garden ‘HoseLock’ couplings, normally on yellow hoses). The saltwater is
distributed at about 90% of saturation. The precise salt concentration will vary with
the temperature of the mains water supply.
7.6.4 Reverse osmosis water
Reverse osmosis water is available within the laboratory by way of a MilleporeTM
purification units, currently located in H.L.10.
7.6.5 Sinks
Mobile sinks are provided as an alternative to fixed installations in some parts of
the laboratory. These should be simply located above (or adjacent) to a floor drain, so
that the sink drain pours directly into the floor drain, and connected to the hot and cold
water outlets using the quick release couplings. It should be noted that the quick
release couplings also provide the earth-bonding of the sink.
7.6.6 Compressed air
Compressed air is available at 10 bar at strategic locations throughout the
laboratory. This should only be used following a suitable risk assessment and the
drawing up of procedures. See §5.7 for details.
In Pavilions A and C, each outlet is fitted with its own regulator, although
secondary precision regulators may be required for some equipment. In Pavilions H
and the AFF, regulators are not fitted to the outlets, but must instead be incorporated
into the experimental setup. To avoid the incorrect connection of equipment, outlets
with regulators are fitted with a different type of quick release coupling from those
without regulators. Mobile regulators are available to provide an interface between the
two types of coupling.
 63 
Appendix A: Induction check list
Appendix A: Induction check list
This checklist is to be completed as part of inducting a new user in the Laboratory.
Permission to begin work in the Laboratory will only be given once all relevant
precursors have been completed.
Departure date
Director of Laboratory
Laboratory Safety Officer
Head Technician
Documentation issued
Laboratory Manual
HSD Documents (list)
Swipe card programmed
Lone working restrictions
 64 
Appendix A: Induction check list
Explanation of emergency procedures
First aid
Knockdown buttons
Training needs/Training given
Unsupervised work must not commence until approved by the Safety Officer.
Approval to commence
Documentation read
Base Risk Assessment
COSHH Assessment
Signed by Supervisor/Host
Hot Work approval
Volatile Solvent approval
Biological approval
Permission to start
 65 
Appendix B:
Appendix B:
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
Supervisor/Principal Investigator/Host
Project title:
Brief description of project:
Date for this revision:
Date for next revision:
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
Emergency measures:
Please note: This section is intended to provide others with guidance if they have to
deal with your equipment in an emergency situation. In the majority of situations, the
appropriate answer will be ‘Do not care’, giving the freedom to react as appropriate.
Only in a small subset of cases will ‘No’ be an appropriate answer, and in such cases it
is important to state the reasons why.
Do not care
Fire alarm
Knock down switch
Turn off piped services
Drain equipment
Knock down switch
Turn off piped services
Drain equipment
Electrical fault
Knock down switch
Turn off piped services
Drain equipment
Equipment failure
Knock down switch
Turn off piped services
Drain equipment
Please explain the reasons behind any ‘No’ responses in the table above.
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
Brief description of main hazards
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
Which sections of the Laboratory Manual have you read? (Please tick)
Are the risks associated with the project covered by the Laboratory Manual? Yes/No
Is a COSHH form attached? Yes/No
List substances used
Are COSHH data sheets for any substances attached? Yes/No
List substances
Describe any waste or by-products produced by the experiment, any risks associated with
handling them and how they will be disposed of.
Description of additional risks and the measures taken to minimise potential incidents. (Please
continue on a separate sheet if required.)
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
List any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for this work, and the
circumstances under which it is used.
List any special restrictions on clothing (e.g. a need for lab coats, long trousers or hair
Describe any impact your work might have on others working in the Laboratory (e.g. noise or
lighting conditions) and what measures will be put in place to reduce or remove the hazard or
Do you feel competent to undertake this work? Have you discussed the project with your
supervisor, principal investigator or host? Please list any areas where you believe training
would be beneficial.
GK Batchelor Laboratory: Risk Assessment
Have all items of electrical equipment been tested for electrical safety and do they display a
valid test sticker? This includes IEC mains cables, plug boards, computers and video
equipment. Please list the items of electrical equipment you are using. The equipment must be
re-tested if the sticker only states the date the equipment was last tested.
Do you intend to work alone in the lab out of hours? If ‘yes’, then please list any additional
safety measures or procedures you will undertake to ensure your safety.
For Office Use Only:
Laboratory Safety Officer:
Department: DAMTP
Assessment Reference:
This document fulfils the requirements of the COSHH and DSEAR Regulations relating to a written risk assessment
When completing form, refer to Guidance Notes
Experiment / Procedure / Process / Activity / Demonstration (include a brief description):
Frequency (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or ‘one-off’):
Hazardous substances to be used (List ALL substances including solvents, expected products and by-products):
Can any of the substances be substituted with a less hazardous substance or form of the substance?
If yes, you must do so, or justify not using it. ___________________________________________________________________
gas, liquid,
solid, dust
Risk Phrases
Toxic, flammable,
corrosive, irritant,
easily absorbed
through skin etc
/ GHS Hazard
(see guidance
note lists)
ingestion, injection,
Which are the significant chemical hazards? ____________________________________________________________
Risks associated with the procedure: (non-chemical risks may require an additional risk assessment)
Note: DSEAR risk considerations include:
Is there any substance used or formed that might give rise to a fire or explosion (e.g. reactive intermediates)?
If yes, how will you ensure that no fire or explosion occurs (inc. the consideration of eliminating ignition sources):
Is it reasonably foreseeable that the lower explosive limit will be reached in the event of a leak / spillage?
If yes, a more detailed risk assessment is required under the Dangerous Substances Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.
Are any of the substances a Category 1 or 2 carcinogen, a mutagen, a substance toxic to
reproduction, a respiratory sensitizer or a skin sensitizer?
(Risk Phrases: R42, R43, R45, R46, R49, R60, R61, R64 or Hazard Statements: H334, H317, H350, H340, H350i, H360f, H360d, H362)
Work with these compounds must be carried out in a fume cupboard where reasonably practicable. A health record must be completed.
Hazardous Substance Risk Assessment Form HSD030C (rev 2)
© University of Cambridge
Oct 2010
Department: DAMTP
Assessment Reference:
Control Measures:
Personal Protective Equipment:
Fume cupboard
Lab coat / overalls
Glove box / isolator
Safety cabinet
Glove type:
Eye Protection (i.e. safety
glasses, goggles, face shield)
Local exhaust ventilation
Storage requirements (specify):
Other control measure (specify):
RPE type:
Is health surveillance required? y/n
Respiratory protective
equipment (RPE) *
* Under COSHH all RPE requires face-fit testing
Monitoring: Gas, Vapour or Dust
Specify what and how :
Are any additional controls required not covered above? (training, instruction, information or maintenance)
Are there additional non-chemical hazards requiring further risk assessment? y/n
Ref No:
Waste Disposal Routes: Refer to University and departmental policy.
Consider segregation, containment and appropriate labelling of waste in order to avoid problems of mixing incompatible wastes.
Chlorinated solvent
Aqueous (hazardous)
Other (specify): ____________________
Non-chlorinated solvent
Aqueous (non-hazardous)
Identify incompatible wastes: _______________________________________________________________________________
NB: The mixing of incompatible wastes can introduce significant additional hazards, consult literature and MSDSs
Emergency Procedures (emphasise any special hazards):
Fire Extinguisher:
L2 D-metal
Dry Powder
Spillage/Uncontrolled Release:
Spill Kit
Evacuate Area
Wash Down Area
Other (specify): __________________________________________________________________________________________
What could happen if there was catastrophic failure of the apparatus? ______________________________________________
In the event of an accident, who might be exposed? _____________________________________________________________
Emergency Treatment in Case of Contamination or Exposure:
Exposure/Contamination – standard procedures (special procedures MUST be detailed below)
Read and Understood
Mouth, Eyes, Skin Exposure – flush area of contact with plenty of water, contact a First Aider; Lungs – remove to fresh air, contact a First Aider.
If swallowed – contact a First Aider, get details of substance ingested and seek medical attention immediately.
If casualty unconscious – contact a First Aider immediately and call an ambulance.
Other (specify): _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
It is agreed that application of the control measures specified will provide adequate management of the identified risks.
Name of assessor:
Name of co-signatory: (e.g. Supervisor / authorised deputy)
Note: This risk assessment is valid for one year after which time it MUST be reviewed.
Hazardous Substance Risk Assessment Form HSD030C (rev 2)
© University of Cambridge
Oct 2010
Appendix C: Density Table
Appendix C: Density Table
NaCl Density
0.9982 1.3330
0.9989 1.3332
0.9997 1.3333
1.0004 1.3335
1.0011 1.3337
1.0018 1.3339
1.0025 1.3340
1.0032 1.3342
1.0039 1.3344
1.0046 1.3346
1.0053 1.3347
1.0060 1.3349
1.0068 1.3351
1.0075 1.3353
1.0082 1.3354
1.0089 1.3356
1.0096 1.3358
1.0103 1.3360
1.0110 1.3362
1.0117 1.3363
1.0125 1.3365
1.0132 1.3367
1.0139 1.3369
1.0146 1.3370
1.0153 1.3372
1.0160 1.3374
1.0168 1.3376
1.0175 1.3377
1.0182 1.3379
1.0189 1.3381
1.0196 1.3383
1.0203 1.3384
1.0211 1.3386
1.0218 1.3388
1.0225 1.3390
1.0232 1.3391
1.0239 1.3393
1.0246 1.3395
1.0254 1.3397
1.0261 1.3398
Appendix C: Density Table
NaCl Density
1.0268 1.3400
1.0275 1.3402
1.0282 1.3404
1.0290 1.3405
1.0297 1.3407
1.0304 1.3409
1.0311 1.3411
1.0318 1.3412
1.0326 1.3414
1.0333 1.3416
1.0340 1.3418
1.0355 1.3421
1.0369 1.3425
1.0384 1.3428
1.0398 1.3432
1.0413 1.3435
1.0427 1.3439
1.0442 1.3442
1.0456 1.3446
1.0471 1.3449
1.0486 1.3453
1.0500 1.3456
1.0515 1.3460
1.0530 1.3463
1.0544 1.3467
1.0559 1.3470
1.0574 1.3474
1.0588 1.3477
1.0603 1.3481
1.0618 1.3484
1.0633 1.3488
1.0647 1.3491
1.0662 1.3495
1.0677 1.3498
1.0692 1.3502
Appendix C: Density Table
NaCl Density
1.0707 1.3505
1.0744 1.3514
1.0781 1.3523
1.0819 1.3532
1.0857 1.3541
1.0894 1.3549
1.0932 1.3558
1.0970 1.3567
1.1008 1.3576
1.1047 1.3585
1.1085 1.3594
1.1162 1.3612
1.1240 1.3630
1.1319 1.3648
1.1398 1.3666
1.1478 1.3684
1.1558 1.3702
1.1640 1.3721
1.1721 1.3739
1.1804 1.3757
1.1887 1.3776
Appendix D: Revision History
Appendix D: Revision History
Version 1.0 (May 2003)
The previous guidelines, developed for the Silver Street site, have been
rewritten and extended to cover the new features and facilities in CMS.
Version 1.1 (March 2004)
Minor additions.
Version 1.3 (September 2004)
Section on clothing and footwear added (§5.15).
Version 1.4 (February 2005)
Induction procedures (§3.1) and check-list (Appendix A).
Permits to Work for heat (§5.7.7) and volatile solvents (§5.3.2).
Ordering and receiving goods (§3.4).
Personnel changes (§1.2).
Version 1.5 (August 2006)
New section on High-risk Facilities (§6).
Version 1.6 (August 2007)
Issues of biological safety
Updated Cold Room safety
Version 1.7 (July 2008)
Updated electrical safety
Version 1.8 (August 2009)
Updated laser safety
Version 2.0 (July 2011)
Section on Policies extended.
Redundant information removed
Various sections updated.
Version 2.1 (December 2012)
More explicit statement concerning masks and eye protection when handling
Revised rules about potassium permanganate (KMnO4).
Revised policy for laser safety
COSHH Risk Assessment form updated
Electrical safety updated to reflect revised CMS Electrical Safety Policy.
Numerous minor changes.
Appendix D: Revision History
Version 2.2 (February 2013)
Further revisions to the Laser Safety Policy
Version 2.2a (October 2013)
Additional bullet point in Laser Safety Policy requiring Local Rules to be
Version 2.2b (January 2014)
Rules regarding the use of salts other than NaCl (see § updated
regarding the use of PPE and disposal of salts and solutions.
Version 2.2c (August 2014)
Personnel list updated.
Added an explicit Waste Policy (see §2.3.6).
Risk Assessment pro forma updated to include sections on PPE, waste, clothing
and interactions with other laboratory users.