Health & Safety Department

Latest news

Latest news from the Health and Safety Department.

AIR and RETAIN outage

Both AIR and RETAIN are available again from Tuesday 4th December. Thank you for your patience during the necessary outage.

Zebra Printer Power Supply Unit Recall

Zebra have recalled any power supply unit that has been sold with one of their printers between October 1, 2006 and December 31, 2012. Please see the Zebra site for more information:


HSE biological safety guidance update

HSE have recently issued some new guidance on biological safety.

1. This new guidance “HSE ACDP Management and operation of microbiological containment laboratories 2018” ( ) is replacing the following two documents:

HSE ACDP Biological agents: Managing the risks in laboratories and healthcare premises

HSE ACDP Management, design and operation of microbiological containment laboratories

2. This new guidance “HSE Managing infection risks when handling the deceased 2018” ( ) is replacing the following two documents:

HSE ACDP Safe working and prevention of infection in mortuary and post mortem room

HSE ACDP Controlling risks of infection at work from human remains

Mumps update

The mumps virus is circulating and affecting young adults in Edinburgh and the Lothians, predominantly in those aged 18 - 22 years.  Cases of mumps in our local community are monitored by the Health Protection Team NHS Lothian who provide the University with advice and support on potential public health issues.


New or revised Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs)

EH40/2005, the list of legal Workplace Exposure Limits, has recently been updated with 31 new or revised WELs. A free copy can be downloaded from the HSE website at with pages 5, 6 and 7 listing the changes – the list is too extensive to add here but some highlights include a new WEL for acetic acid and sulphur dioxide and reduced exposure levels for Hydrogen cyanide (as cyanide).

Please ensure that this list is distributed to all staff who work with any of these substances and applicable risk assessments are reviewed.

Working with engineering controls, such as fume cupboards, usually ensures that no WELs are breached, but if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Occupational Hygiene Unit;

Occupational Hygiene Unit

Contact details


School (Area) Safety Advisers training

School (Area) Safety Advisers are a vital component of the health and safety structure within the University. Face to face training sessions have always been available but we now also offer an online course on the LEARN platform which we recommend all School (Area) Safety Advisers complete.

This course covers the following information:

  • Health and safety law and University health and safety policy
  • University management structure and roles and responsibilities
  • Accident and incident reporting, training, and risk assessment
  • Accident and incident management - including how to report an accident etc., and how to use the AIR system to manage your accidents etc. and a template investigation form
  • Further useful documents
  • Further useful links

The link to the course can be found on the following pages of our website: and

General Data Protection Regulations May 2018

The Health and Safety Department have published a new web page detailing our various Privacy Notices, as required by the General Data Protection Regulations. This webpage will also be accessible from all of our subsites in the Contact Us section (top right of each website).

General Data Protection Regulations

University Health and Safety Policy Updated April 2018

The policy has been updated with a new Foreword by the Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, as well as slightly amended Emergency Procedures, to ensure they are in line with those published on the University website at and

The updated policy can be found on our website at and is sent to all new staff with their contract paperwork as supplied by Human Resources.

Contact if you require any new copies of the booklet.

Health and Safety Bulletin - May 2018 Issue

We are pleased to let you know that the  May 2018 issue of the Health and Safety Bulletin is now available to view and download.

Health and Safety Bulletin May 2018

Update on COSHH Health Passport System

The IS project to design and build the system is now finished and the final code has been deployed to live.

As well as acting as the COSHH health record for staff who require one, the system will also act as entry control to all CBS managed animal facilities, to replace their current paper based system.

We are rolling the system out within the CBS animal facilities in the next few months and if any other non-CBS staff will be involved or affected, they will be contacted via their School Safety Adviser/Health and Safety Manager.

User guides and process flow charts have been published at - this page also describes the purpose of the system and details information that all Researchers need to be aware of prior to accessing it.

As is highlighted in the user guides, CBS may restrict access to their animal facilities if Researchers do not comply with the entry requirements. However, in the short term whilst we are embedding the system and processes, no access will be restricted to any staff or students who currently have access, although normal CBS disciplinary processes will remain in place and be followed as required.

Once the system is embeded within CBS, we will begin the further roll out at School level. We would therefore ask that staff and students do not access the system until specifically asked to do so. This will enable us to manage the roll out and any training that may be required.

Vaccination Shortage - This information applies to the supply of Hepatitis A and B vaccine only

There is currently a worldwide shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine and Hepatitis A vaccine and this is likely to be the case until at least October.  OHU are working to conserve their current vaccine stock and only those unimmunised  individuals deemed to be at highest risk will be offered the vaccine.

The NHS are struggling to maintain a reliable supply and many GP practices and travel clinics have run out of stock.  This may have implications for you if you work with substances/tissue that potentially may be infected with the Hepatitis B or A virus or if you are planning work related travel to areas of high endemnicity of Hepatitis A/B infection. 

You must adhere to all risk reduction measures that are in place within your local area and as identified within the local CoSHH risk assessments to ensure that your potential inadvertent exposure to the hepatitis A and B viruses is reduced as far as is reasonably practicable.

If you have had a previous course of vaccine please obtain proof of that course.  This will ensure that any available vaccine supply is used appropriately.

Further information can be found on the Occupational Health Unit web page at


Mandatory training for those potentially exposed to laboratory animal allergens

On 20th August 2014, the Central Management Group (CMG) gave its full backing to the creation and delivery of 3 mandatory training courses for all Research Group Leaders, Principal Investigators and other relevant managers and supervisors who themselves are potentially exposed to animal allergens, and/or whose group members, or other relevant colleagues, would expect to have a similar potential for exposure, and all their staff/researchers in their groups. These courses were formally launched by the Director of Health and Safety in November 2016 via a letter to all applicable Heads of School.

The University Health and Safety Policy, Framework: Organisation has now also been updated with this information in 'Section 13 Principal Investigators (PIs), supervisors or managers', an extract of which can be found on the Principal Investigators and supervisors guidance webpage.

New Online Fire Safety Awareness Training

The University has introduced a new online Fire Awareness training course.  This is to ensure that every employee within the University receives information and training relevant to fire safety matters within the workplace.

This training will help the University meet its statutory obligations with regard to fire safety and is supported through the LEARN platform.   

New Online Fire Safety Awareness Training

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.

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