Health & Safety Department

Latest news

Latest news from the Health and Safety Department.

Health and Safety Bulletin - January Issue

We are pleased to let you know that the January issue of the Health and Safety Bulletin is now available to view and download.

Health and Safety Bulletin January 2017

University Optometrists

The University’s appointed Optometrist, Rodger and Smallridge, closed their Forrest Road branch and moved to Golden Acre some time ago. Although Golden Acre is accessible via one bus from the city centre, we appreciate this is not very convenient to staff in other campuses and takes up valuable time in travel. We therefore undertook a procurement exercise to appoint another University Optometrist. During this process, we interviewed five applicants from the areas around George Square and have appointed a further two Optometrists to ensure that staff have a varied choice of venues for their eye tests.

These are The Opticians at Marchmont, with their branch in Marchmont, and Browns the Opticians who have two branches, one in Clerk Street and one at Portobello. Rodger and Smallridge also continue as an appointed University optometrist for staff who wish to continue attending there.

As part of this process, we have also taken the opportunity to streamline the administration for authorising an eye test and all Optometrists will accept a University staff card as authorisation for a DSE/VDU eye test, replacing the letter of authorisation previously issued by the Health and Safety Department. Schools will also no longer receive an authorisation letter from our Department for the raising of a purchase order (PO) for DSE/VDU spectacles. Instead, staff (or the School/Department’s finance office depending upon school/departmental procedures) will be expected to liaise directly with their Optometrists of choice and supply them with a PO number.

Full details on this new process has been published on our website at, which is on the webpage  

This would also be a good time to remind staff that standard ‘free’ NHS eye tests rarely include a DSE/VDU portion (unless specified) and all staff who are eligible for these eye tests should use one of the appointed University Optometrists when possible.

Similarly, we have updated the process for the procurement of prescription safety spectacles, full details at, which is on the webpage

Environmental air pollution

Many countries have a much higher environmental air pollution than Scotland, sometimes at an unhealthy level - this aspect of travel and work needs to be considered prior to staff and students going to those countries.

If air pollution is a major risk of the country you are visiting, then the travel risk assessment should fully consider the risks from air pollution to which the individual(s) may be exposed, and identify suitable control measures in order to ensure all hazards are managed as far as practicable.

The Travel Risk assessment at has been updated with an annexe of guidance tro try and minimise the risk of exposure.

Conference 2016 workshop notes and feedback

The workshop notes from the conference have now been analysed and summarised. We also undertook a post conference survey and the results of this have also been reviewed. Both of these can be found at

REACH and CLP Regulations

REACH and CLP Regulations are reasonably complex but ECHA have published one sheet documents which give a quick overview of the main points that are relevant to users of chemicals.  A basic one page guidance poster is availble at with a more indepth version at

More guidance on CLP is on our website at

Nanosafety guidance

The UK Nanosafety Group (UKNSG) has updated and published a 2nd edition of guidance to support safe and responsible working practices with nanomaterials in research and development laboratories. The 2nd edition of the guidance provides updates to account for changes in legislation, recent studies in the literature, and best practice since 2012. In particular, specific sections have been revised to account for the full implementation of Global Harmonised System (GHS) which came into force on 1 June 2015 through the CLP regulations. The document explains the approaches that are presently being used to select effective control measures for the management of nanomaterials, more specifically control banding tools presently in use. Significant changes can be found in the following sections: ‘Hazard Banding’, ‘Exposure Control’, ‘Toxicology’, and ‘Monitoring’.

You can download the guidance document for free at

University Health and Safety Policy

The University Health and Safety Policy has been reviewed and the new version officially launched at the recent Health and Safety Conference held in the Informatics Forum on 16th March 2016.

The Health and Safety Policy is issued upon the authority of the University Court. It is published in two documents - the University Health and Safety Policy and a Framework document, also divided into two - Organisation and Arrangements.

This policy replaces the Keynote Guide and 8 Parts of the previous policy and any local copies should be destroyed and  replaced with the new policy and any links updated. The old 8 Parts of the Policy plus the Keynote Guide are still available online for reference only.

The majority of the Policy remains unchanged, however, some key changes can be found on our website - Key changes to the Policy.

Tight fitting face masks and facial hair

To ensure that any tight fitting face mask, both half and full face masks, protect the wearer against hazardous substances, the person must be clean shaven. This requirement is discussed during the facefit testing process but it is worth reminding staff of this on a regular basis. Further information can be found at  and more specifically at



Biosafety Training Institute (BTI)

The BTI is delighted to announce two exciting updates:

  • Approved for Observer status with the International Federation of Biosafety Associations

    • The IFBA’s mission is “safe, secure and responsible work with biological materials” lays the foundation for the implementation of strategies to minimize the serious dangers that can arise from the failure to implement sound biosafety and biosecurity practices

  • Are now providing the first ISTR accredited full e-learning Biosafety Practitioner Level 1 course
    • The Institute serves safety professionals in technology and research including education, industry, government agencies and consultancy. The aim of the Institute is to enhance the knowledge, competence and professional development of its members through networking, accreditation, knowledge exchange, workshops and symposia, communication with regulators and partnerships with other safety organisations.

Follow the BTI on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates.

Zika virus

The Health and Safety Department has published advice for University staff or students who intend to travel to, or have recently returned from, an area which is affected by the Zika virus. This is published on the University Business Travel website.

Zika virus